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There are already a few questions and answers from the perspective of workers who deal with loud colleagues: Loud and unprofessional employee and What can I do about a very loud coworker?

As someone who is aware that they often speak loudly how can I deal with/overcome this issue?

I already make efforts to be aware of my volume but frequently only notice my volume at the end of a conversation. It’s particularly difficult for me to control when explaining my work to new hires who I am essentially training, mainly because I am proud of my work and enjoy discussing the technical aspects of it. Other than trying my best to be more conscious of the issue I'm not sure what else to do. Things I've tried:

  • I have asked the people I speak with to let me know if they notice me talking loudly but I would prefer that my problems dont require effort from others to overcome.
  • I have also had my hearing checked and that is not the issue.
  • If I know that I will be having a potentially loud conversation I try to take it to our kitchen/plaza area but that isnt always an option as we need to be sitting at a PC.

Occasionally a select few individuals will make comments like, "God why do you talk so loud?". Although they are the kind of person to bug you as a sign of affection and comfortability it leaves me feeling very bad about myself because I am not the kind of person to knowingly annoy others.

I'd like to solve this problem before someone feels inspired to create a SE question about dealing with me.

  • Not sure if this is a workplace issue. It does affect the workplace. You might need to consult with a psychologist, not a workplace expert. – Socrates Jan 27 '16 at 21:13
  • Ya I had considered that, thought I would start here first and it did seem to comply with: Maintaining employment (promotions, pay increases, harassment, bullying, poor working conditions, communication problems, etc.) – RyanS Jan 27 '16 at 21:14
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    See a speech therapist? – jamesqf Jan 27 '16 at 21:36
  • I edited the question to make it more open ended – RyanS Jan 27 '16 at 21:40
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    Why do you talk so loudly? – user70848 Jan 29 '16 at 0:21
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One way actors learn to project their voices is to remember that they're speaking to someone at the back of the theater, not the other actors on stage. You could try reversing that -- imagine that you're always speaking to someone only a foot away, and see if that teaches you to use your "indoor voice".

@jamesqf's suggestion to ask a speech therapist for help is a good one. Also, get your hearing checked; unnecessary shouting often indicates that the speaker isn't hearing their own voice very well.

There are many smartphone applications that can work as volume meters. Try practicing with one of those to become more aware of what you're doing.

If speaking on the phone, remember that phones are designed for people speaking as they would to a person not more than three feet away. You really do not have to shout for the phone to hear you.

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    I especially like the idea of using your smartphone (there likely is also something for your desktop computer) for instant feedback. You can gamify this: during your next conversation, keep an eye on your volume meter and try to stay within some predefined "green zone". – Stephan Kolassa Jan 28 '16 at 7:50
  • @StephanKolassa - people would become suspicious that you're taping them. – Deer Hunter Jan 28 '16 at 16:29
  • Thank you very much for these suggestions. I mentioned in the question that I had my hearing checked but it came back fine (perhaps I should bold this part). I will try a volume meter with individuals that are aware of the problem and feel comfortable with the idea. – RyanS Jan 28 '16 at 16:37
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There are 2 possible solutions here :

  1. Whisper

Whisper??? You say, why - yes. Whisper. The reason is that you probably cannot, and I doubt that any of can really, adjust your natural volume. And that's not a bad thing, it's just how we are. So you can explain to your listener , "Hey I need to whisper because I have a REALLY loud voice, and though I may try to reduce the volume - it'll be too loud."

Now, in an office environment it's generally nice/considerate/wise to be considerate of the others in the nearby vicinity. Well, it isn't a library - however, in your case - you admit and you've been told so - that you have a loudness issue (it's not a thing to be ashamed of) , but that's how you'd cope.

  1. Find a room

Are there any conference rooms around? This may be the easiest solution of all. Just take it to a conference room, where you can speak normally

best !

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If you're aware of it and deem it a problem. Then it's up to you to do something about it.

See someone who specialising in speech problems if you must.

and/or

Speak quieter, cultivate a habit of consciously lowering your volume when speaking. You are already doing it to some extent, but it hasn't become habitual yet. You just need to keep making the conscious effort until it does. We can train ourselves to do almost anything that's possible on a physical level.

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    I have likened the challenge of speaking differently to walking or breathing differently. A challenge that I am willing to continue working on – RyanS Jan 28 '16 at 16:41
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Do you think you have a higher tone of voice than others? Often higher tones sound louder than lower tone voices. Perhaps practice speaking in a tone or two lower than normal.

Also, perhaps try to speak with your mouth less open, ie make a smaller size opening when speaking, as a wider mouth will project further. As this may make it more difficult to speak, it may help.

Do you think you speak rapidly as well? Sometimes I find I speak louder when I am talking faster, as the words come out very quickly. Perhaps try slowing down the rhythm of your speech, and this might also lower the volume. If you are having trouble speaking more slowly, try using new vocabulary so that you have to concentrate more on each phrase and sentence while you are speaking.

  • I definitely speak quickly, another issue I am trying to address :p thank you for the suggestions. I have a relatively low tone, comes with being a 6foot3 male I suppose – RyanS Jan 28 '16 at 16:40
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  1. Practice: Practice speaking at lower volumes in this way - speak a sentence at your normal volume. Increase the volume and repeat the sentence. After you increased your volume by say 2 arbitrary scales, repeat a sentence by reducing your volume. Do all this while you are recording your voice. Ask a friend or confidante to tell you which scales among these is an acceptable one. Record that scale. And then keep doing this exercise at home.(Increase and decrease your volume and settle at the correct/ recorded scale)

  2. When at your workplace, try setting your meetings in conference rooms, and avoid using headphones when at desk because headphones make it difficult to judge the volume of your own voice.

Hope this helps. All the best!

  • In regards to #2 and the headphones, do you mean while talking to people or in general? I usually have an earbud in one ear while at my desk and take it out when talking to people – RyanS Feb 1 '16 at 15:09
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    i mean, do not use headphones when in meeting. use speaker on the phone and the best is to go to a conference room to attend meetings do that you don't disturb any one and are not conscious about yourself. :) – shyla Feb 2 '16 at 3:46

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