If your co-workers are always complaining that you’re too loud, you came to the right place. Other people had told me before that I was too loud myself. But I learned that there are effective techniques to help one talk quieter.
Here are a few effective ways to teach yourself to talk quieter:
- Be aware of your voice volume and control it.
- Talk in a calm, gentle manner.
- Practice quiet talking when you’re alone.
- Use a sound meter app to practice talking quieter.
- Consider taking vocal lessons.
- Make your environment quieter.
- Become a better listener.
- Control your emotions.
- Practice deep breathing techniques.
- Speak more slowly.
- Be more concise when you speak.
This article will explain the strategies laid out above in more detail so that you can finally be the quiet one in your social circles. Keep reading.
1. Be Aware of Your Voice Volume and Control It
There’s one tactic that taught me how to speak quieter more than anything else – being mindful.
Pay attention to the volume of your voice when talking. As soon as you notice a slight shift, go back right where you started.
If you’re like me, being told by someone to talk quieter won’t help. It might work for 30 seconds, but you’ll go back to your standard loudness levels faster than you can say Jack Robinson.
It’s completely different when you’re the one telling yourself, “You’re too loud!”
Being more mindful isn’t easy at first. You’ll feel anxious every time your voice goes up without control. But that’s kind of the point.
Don’t be in distress when you notice you’re talking loudly. Instead, give yourself a pat on the back that you picked it up. You can then re-adjust your voice.
Being mindful will also teach you to control your emotions better. People tend to be the loudest when they’re excited, stressed, or angry.
By practicing mindfulness, you’ll become more self-aware in uncomfortable social situations.
For example, you’ll recognize that you’re talking too loudly during an important presentation. You can then stop it in its tracks.
Your classmates or co-workers will pay attention to the content instead of the delivery.
2. Talk in a Calm, Gentle Manner
Have you ever seen someone being gentle and shouting at the same time? Exactly.
Taking a relaxed, mellow approach to a conversation will make you proportionately quieter.
Furthermore, people might think that you’re loud because of the tone you use. Our ears are deceiving.
Humans perceive a change in auditory intensity as a difference in loudness.
You won’t get noise complaints when using a soft tone. Objectively, the volume of your voice won’t change significantly.
But you’ll trick both yourself and others that you’re quieter than usual.
A great way to practice quiet talking would be to talk to seniors. They have more sensitive hearing. Watch their facial expressions when you speak to see if you’re being too assertive.
If you have seniors in your family, talk to them. Otherwise, you could volunteer in a retirement home or help out at a local community center.
You can also have conversations with your pet if you have one. Your pet won’t understand what you’re saying, but you can observe their reactions to changes in loudness and tone.
I love conversing with my little kitten. He gets startled if I approach him and start talking loudly. But if I’m gentle, he starts purring.
3. Practice Quiet Talking When You’re Alone
As with everything else in life, practice makes perfect. You can talk to yourself quietly when nobody’s at home.
A large empty room will give you a good sense of how loud you are. If you hear an echo, you’re probably too loud.
You could also try the echo test in your bathroom. The tiles reflect sound. So, if your voice has a booming quality to it, you’re speaking too loudly.
You shouldn’t be embarrassed about it. Self-talk feels very weird and uncomfortable at first.
But if you think about it, you’re just honing and improving your speaking skills. It’s no different than practicing listening skills by blasting loud music through your headphones.
Moreover, you can utilize your self-talking sessions to relieve stress and solve complex problems.
4. Use a Sound Meter App To Practice Talking Quieter
One great way to practice quiet talking is by using a sound meter app on your phone.
A sound app allows you to monitor how loud your voice is, measured in decibels (dB). It’s a perfect way to practice as much as you want.
You can practice for hours if you want. You won’t have to bother anyone either.
Here’s how to teach yourself to talk quieter using a decibel meter app:
- Download and install a highly-rated sound meter app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
- Go to a room and ensure that it’s as quiet as possible. Turn off any music and home appliances. Ask your family to speak quietly.
- Put the phone a few feet away from you and turn the app on.
- Start speaking. Tell a story, talk about your hobby or something that happened to you. Pick something natural and preferably exciting.
- Watch the decibel meter and adjust the volume of your voice. A normal level is 50 – 65 decibels. Since you’re in a silent room, I recommend that you stay around or below 50 dB.
5. Consider Taking Vocal Lessons
A vocal teacher can teach you more than just how to sing. These highly qualified individuals understand all the intricate details of speech.
You’ll get complete control over your voice, so you’ll always know how loud you are.
You can find a vocal coach at your local university or search online. Platforms like Fiverr and Craigslist are a good place to start.
If you can, look for individuals that have undergone some form of formal education.
The most important thing is that you can attend the classes in person. Taking them online is a bad idea because the teacher can’t tell how loud you speak via a microphone.
Also, make sure to give the teacher a heads up that you want to practice talking quieter, not singing.
6. Make Your Environment Quieter
Environmental noise makes us talk louder than usual. Everybody does this, but some of us go overboard with it.
For example, I talk very loud on sidewalks near busy streets, to the point of yelling. And you probably do that, too.
In that case, try to match the volume of the people you’re talking to. You shouldn’t shout so that they can hear you, even if an ambulance or police vehicle is wailing.
But what if you’re at home instead of on the street?
In that case, make everything else as quiet as possible. This will stop you from competing against your home appliances like the washing machine and electric kettle.
And I can’t stress this enough, but turn the TV off when you’re having a conversation with someone.
Getting talked over is annoying, but being interrupted by a TV broadcaster is downright unacceptable!
If you have the choice, turn everything off. This includes music, the TV, the radio, the dishwasher, and so on. These factors are sometimes the cause of your talking loudly.
When everything goes quiet, you’re confident that everybody hears you. So, you can use a soft, low voice without any concerns.
7. Become a Better Listener
Being good at listening to others is a valuable asset.
It makes you a better friend. People will think highly of you, and you’ll build mutual respect.
Listening to others gives you time to manage how loud you are. It gives you some space to be more mindful and control your emotions, too.
If you have a problem with interrupting others, listening attentively will help you avoid that. I’m speaking from experience.
Another potential benefit of improving your listening skills is that you can analyze how loud your friends talk.
You might notice that you have another loud friend in the group. Talk to them about this topic and share some tips.
But it’s not just listening to others that matters. You must practice listening to your own voice as well.
When you speak, you primarily hear your voice through the vibrations in your skull. You also hear the sound waves from the air, but that’s not as important.
The caveat is that your skull can’t conduct the finer differences in loudness levels.
This brings us back to point number 3. You can master the volume of your voice by practicing and listening to yourself.
8. Control Your Emotions
Mastering your emotions will completely change your life. Talking quieter is just an additional benefit.
I know it from myself. I talk the loudest when I’m excited or angry.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to control what and how you feel. Emotions are a natural reaction of the sympathetic nervous system.
But that doesn’t justify yelling at someone.
If you can manage to speak quietly despite feeling extremely angry, you’ll rewire your brain. Rebuilding these habits takes months or even years, but it’s worth it in the end.
And when you get excited about something, remember to breathe and talk slowly. It’ll stop your screeches of joy.
Healthline has a few excellent tips on how to take over your emotions:
- Identify, label, and accept all your emotions. It’s okay to feel a certain way. Not everybody is as cool as a cucumber. Identify your feelings and ask yourself whether they’re in line with your beliefs.
- Never repress powerful emotions. Repression leads to anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress, and more.
- Write down your emotions. This allows you to keep track of how you feel throughout the day, week, and month. It may also help you relieve anger and sadness.
- Practice deep breathing. Holding your breath for a few seconds calms down your nervous system. It’s a powerful and effective tool recommended by psychiatrists.
- Create some distance between you and your emotions. If it’s possible, remove yourself physically from an upsetting situation. Otherwise, don’t talk for as long as it’s acceptable in the situation.
- Manage stress. Try meditating, exercising, doing things you love, and other things that calm you down.
Another great technique that’ll keep your emotions at bay is to take a pause when speaking.
One second of silence is more than enough to readjust the volume of your voice. It won’t be awkward either because it’s only a short break. It’ll preserve the natural conversation flow.
A short break is especially effective at stopping loud, angry outbursts during heated arguments.
9. Practice Deep Breathing Techniques
I already mentioned how taking a deep breath helps you manage your emotions. It also gives you time to think before you speak, improving self-awareness.
But deep breathing goes much further than that.
Your lungs and your throat are essential parts of the human vocal system.
Visualize how the air travels from your lungs, through the vocal cords, and out your mouth.
Hold your breath sometimes and practice diaphragmatic breathing. It’ll improve your lung capacity and make your respiratory muscles more efficient.
You can also try yoga. A yoga teacher can teach you a few fantastic deep breathing techniques.
It’s best to follow a guided yoga session. You can do it from home by watching videos. A good place to start is this YouTube video by Yoga With Adriene:
Some people are born with a loud, high-pitched voice. If you’re one of them, you’ll be surprised to learn that there’s a way to make your voice slightly lower.
Try relaxing your vocal cords when you speak. Practice this by yawning a lot. It sounds weird, but it really helps.
Your voice pitch will gradually become lower, so it’ll be perceived as less loud too. Who knows, you might achieve Morgan Freeman’s soothing voice someday
10. Speak More Slowly
By speaking slowly, you’ll have complete control over how loud you are.
Talking at a slower pace helps you to talk quieter instantly.
Also, people will be under the impression that you’re a calm, laid-back person.
Slow talking may help you with emotion management as well. People usually talk faster when they’re angry.
11. Be More Concise When You Speak
Logically, speaking less means there’s less room for error. Set a small, realistic, achievable goal if you can’t stay quiet throughout the entire conversation.
You can effectively talk quieter by being more concise instead of over-explaining everything.
Please, don’t get frustrated if you can’t achieve these goals at first. The longer you’ve been a loud person, the harder it’ll be to break the habit.
By only saying what you want and need to say, your audience will be more attentive too. Since directly fighting for attention leads to loud talking, being concise is effective.
When you’re known as the loud one among your friends and relatives, teaching yourself to talk quieter is challenging. It’s something that millions of people struggle with, so you’re not alone.
Thankfully, there are almost a dozen methods that you can utilize to become quieter.
Practice talking quietly, manage your emotions, and speak slowly. By doing all those things, you’ll be more aware of your loudness levels.