The last post in this series is not about speech but how we say things that speak a lot about our mood, impression of the situation and so much more - our tone. The tone is also something precarious because you can be misunderstood by your tone alone. How many times have you had to reiterate something because it was taken in a way that you didn't mean just by how you said it?
There are ways in which you can use a more submissive tone to your conversation and speech as a whole. Now, remember that this method really isn't submissive in nature but more along the lines of demure, deference and humility. Everyone could learn to be a bit more appropriate from time to time. Here are a few tips that might help you be heard in the right perspective that you intended.
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Learn Proper Enunciation
The biggest reason that you may not be understood the way you intended is that your enunciation is off. There are native stresses to every word in the English (and all other) languages. If you speak correctly, then it's less likely that you will be misunderstood - unless that person hasn't learned the correct enunciation and it gets confusing from there. If you aren't sure about the enunciation of words then look up dictionary.com and listen to the pronunciation guides for words that seem to get misunderstood a lot. Perhaps, for you, it may be inappropriate stresses that are causing the tone change.
Slurring words, over-abusing contractions, and regional slang help to change the tone of the conversation as well. A submissive should try to use proper spelling and grammar as often as possible. It not only shows intelligence but can bring your conversation to an even keel, keeping it humble.
Keep Your Voice on an Even Level
When you emphasize words by making them louder than the rest of the sentence it changes the tone of the entire conversation. The same goes for sudden whispers. Speaking evenly with the correct volume and pitch sounds calmer, more organized and steady.
Be careful though, because having too much of a monotone voice can be just as poor and can give you an air of indifference, boredom or laziness. You can have changes in pitch and volume without going through the roof with the shifts.
Use Less Commands and More Requests
In this rushed and harried day and age, we do far less asking and much more demanding than we ever used to do. Give me this, I want that, do this for me. It's all very commanding and definitely not submissive-like. Can you think of words that would convey a request rather than a demand?
"Is it possible to?"
We've all learned that it's so much easier to get things handled when you ask rather than demand.
Ask for Clarification
Oftentimes the change in tone in our voice is because we misunderstood what someone else said. If you aren't sure, ask for clarification. Or you can simply re-summarize what the person said before you respond.
Don't be a Loud Talker
This one is for me personally. I can't be the only one, so I'm sharing it here. I'm a loud talker. I often forget that the person is right in front of me and talk as if they are across the room. The tone this implies can be yelling, ignorance (on my part) and anger. Tone it down. Be heard. Use that inside voice.