Some of us grow up in families where the loudest one wins. This was definitely the case for me. Germans are loud in nature, and unless you learned how to scream, you wouldn’t get a word in edgewise. Having been raised by a mother who also loved to scream her point across didn’t help either. Even though most would never believe it when they met me, I used to be a quiet, reserved child, but that kind of behavior was trained out of me by the time I reached my teenage years. So why is it bad to yell or raise your voice? Because all you do is getting the other person to be defensive. They are done listening to you and all you say from the “yelling point” forward is no longer going anywhere. So, how can you be heard without raising your voice? Well, here are four ways:
1. Time Out / Cool Off
If at all possible, walk away, take a deep breath and wait a little while before you engage in any further conversation. When we are angry, we are usually not at our best game, because emotions tend to distort our view of what is actually going on, versus what we have imagined in our head. Any extreme emotion will throw us off balance, while cooling down and stepping away from the issue at hand usually allows us to be more objective and detached from the message. Neutral is the way to be!
2. Analyze and Evaluate
If things are starting to get heated within a conversation, ask yourself why you’re getting all wound up. What triggers the person hitting? And what role are you playing in all of it? Once a conversation or argument turns into a fight over being right, or forcing another into seeing things your way, the battle is probably lost. Because now you have two egos going at it and ego has a way of catapulting us back into childhood; and acting like a child isn’t the most convincing or successful way of getting things done.
Sometimes it helps to listen to the other party, no matter how much you may disagree with them. Why? Because it allows you to at least attempt to understand where they are coming from and the best debaters are those who can put themselves into another person’s shoes. Also, people who listen tend to exuberate confidence and most people tend to respond to confidence, above all. Confident people are always taken more serious; screaming, ranting children, not so much.
4. Be Self-Aware
As often as possible, try to take a look at yourself through the eyes of another. If you’re getting into arguments a lot, if you have to assert yourself by raising your voice and if people have told you about it, chances are you are the one with the problem. Maybe take some anger management courses; go to yoga, learn how to meditate or how to center yourself somehow.
It comes down to the fact that no one will be taken seriously when they turn into a screaming fool. Raising your voice doesn’t resolve anything and it only turns people defensive, while it reflects badly on you and your obvious temper. Being an adult requires a certain amount of self-control if we ask to be taken seriously. If we cannot control our own emotions, we turn into bullies; namely a bully without a shred of credibility.
Screaming is just as effective as calling people names or cussing them out. Children behave that way, so if you want to become effective in your communication, learn how to talk in a calm and collected way, or walk away and come back when you are.