Time to adjust the volume a little more

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Last month I was very privileged to facilitate a two-day event for a range of business leaders from the UK and the United States. One of the most talented members of the group was a British entrepreneur, who had an incredible story to tell.

As with so many entrepreneurs, his story was not just one of achievement but also of the struggle and tenacity and dogged determination without which his achievements could never have been possible.

Over a drink in the bar one evening I said to one of the Americans that without wanting to blow my own trumpet for the Brits, I thought that this particular entrepreneur really was something else.

“Yep, he’s great”, she said. “Only problem is that he only uses one level of volume when he talks. If you get a chance, tell him to vary it every now and again.”


We don’t vary our volume enough

I was really struck by that remark, and as I thought on it afterwards I realised that so many of us don’t adjust our level of volume enough when we’re talking to groups.

It’s as if we’re programmed to think that when we’re giving a talk our volume must be fixed at one particular level.

Passion at the right level of volume can be brilliant. It’s probably most infectious when it comes in a burst and we display the self-discipline to adjust our volume downwards once we have reached a high point in our argument.

If we let ourselves overdose on the passion and stay on a roll for too long, we can end up turning people against us rather than bringing them on board.

Do them a favour – and yourself

Powerful, isn’t it. It’s so easy to think just about the content of what we want to say, whereas volume and tone count for so much as well.

So next time you’re with a group and you’ve offered them a burst of passion, and sense yourself clinching the argument, do them a favour – and yourself.

Turn the volume down a tad, soften that tone – and pause.

Time for a question, maybe. “What do you guys reckon? If you’re not persuaded, it would be great to hear what you think.”

What would you call that?

I’d call it leadership, wouldn’t you?





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