We live in a world where for some reason it seems society has decided that the loudest and most obnoxious should be listened to.
You know what I mean. You see two people disagreeing or arguing about something and they start to try to out-volume each other. They get louder and louder while talking over each other. This is usually accompanied by wagging fingers and for some reason, nose to nose proximity.
A question: If both people in a conversation are talking, who the hell is listening?
You’ve seen it in business meetings, too. There’s always one or two people who loudly speak up and dominate the conversation. When others contribute, they butt in loudly and shoot them down. This results in people not wanting to speak up at all so they don’t have to endure the bloviator.
I fly around the country on business, and I kid you not – on nearly every flight there is at least one person who brags about themselves at full voice for most of the flight.
There seem to be more and more people around these days who want to force their opinions and thoughts on us whether we like it or not.
The Truth About Bullies
In grade school, we called these people bullies.
And what did we learned about bullies?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
We learned that bullies act loud and tough because deep down they know they’re inconsequential. They’re trying to compensate for their inadequacies.
So are the loud arguers. So are the loud-mouths at work. And so are those people who I have (so far) refrained from smacking upside the head on my flights.
When everyone else is shouting as loud as they can, what can you and I do to stand out? We can embrace calm confidence.
There’s a great football quote that I’ve seen attributed to both Bear Bryant and Vince Lombardi,
“When you get into the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”
In other words, don’t be an ass. Whichever of them really said it, it’s genius. Truly accomplished people don’t need to call attention to their accomplishments.
So how can we silence the loud and obnoxious?
Be right. Know your stuff. Loud usually goes with uninformed, so if you know what you’re talking about you will always be a step ahead.
“He who truly knows has no occasion to shout.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
When confronted with one of these verbal diarrhea sufferers, let them tire themselves out – like when you’ve hooked a big fish. Let them get it all out until they are gasping and their gills are flapping. Then you reel them in and take your opportunity to politely (however hard that may be) give your “actually” speech.
“Actually, that’s not really the situation….” Or what have you. Stay polite. State the facts calmly and confidently.
But beware. Occasionally, refusing to participate in a loud contest with a loud person makes them temporarily louder for some reason. Let them tire themselves out again before you calmly make your point one more time. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Don’t Be A Wimp – Remember The Big Stick
I’m not saying that you should zip it and let people verbally walk all over you. What I am saying is that you will come out ahead of the loud and obnoxious if you don’t sink to their level. Don’t be sucked in to a loudfest.
Sure there is a time for raising your voice. It’s just not all the time.
“Walk softly and carry a big stick.” – Teddy Roosevelt
Who Do You Want To Be Associated With?
I believe the tide is turning. Loudness is becoming so commonplace that it is slowly becoming background noise for a lot of people. There’s nothing remarkable about it.
Think about TV commercials, for instance. Who would you be more likely to buy something from – Someone like the Sham-Wow guy spewing out some loud, fast-talking pitch or a public figure you trust giving a calm, confident testimonial?
More importantly – what do your clients and friends see when they look at you? Would you rather they see you as the loud one or the calm, confident one?
Sure loud gets attention easier, but calm confidence inspires trust. Trust inspires long-term relationships.
Your turn to share.
What are your strategies for dealing with the noise?
How have you had to rise above?
Share your tips on insipring calm confidence.