How I Learned to Get Louder

See if this sounds familiar:

You go out on a Friday night to bars and clubs, shout at the top of your lungs so your friends can hear you over the loud music, and then later when walking on the quiet street… you’re still shouting!

Your body becomes accustomed to speaking louder, so “loud” becomes the norm.

People who work in nightlife for years often develop stronger vocal cords and naturally become louder over time.

When I was younger I was always very quiet. People would ask me to repeat myself, sometimes more than once. But I never quite thought about actually permanently increasing the volume of my voice.

Then I moved to New York City.

New York is a city that is loud and full of distractions. You have to raise your voice just to order a sandwich so the cashier can hear you. Inside shops and stores, they are usually playing music and have lots of other noises (coffee grinders, stove tops, lunatics shouting conspiracy theories against the government, etc).

Even just walking down the street chatting with your friend necessitates loudness. Fire engine sirens, car horns, boom boxes, street salesmen and other distractions risk drowning your voice in a sea of sound.

Living here I naturally became much louder out of necessity.

So I have two simple tips if you need to get louder so people can hear you better:

1. Put yourself in situations where getting loud is required.

And do this frequently to get as much practice as possible. These situations might include:

  • Bars and clubs
  • Sporting events
  • A noisy intersection in a busy part of town
  • A busy restaurant or diner
  • A crowded market or shopping mall

2. Talk to people from a distance

This will force you to raise your voice so they can hear you better.

However far away you usually stand or sit from people when speaking to them, try backing up a bit and forcing yourself to get loud.

3. However loud you think is too loud, speak even louder

In my experience, people who are afraid of being “too loud” are not even close to being too loud. Instead they are excessively quiet.

When you start to get louder for the first time, it’s natural to feel a little uncomfortable. But you will also probably notice you can get through a conversation without the other person saying “what?” five times.

You can always adjust downward from being too loud (if you reach that point… which you probably won’t). But right now you probably need to get louder, not quieter, so try to push yourself so others can hear you better.

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