When loud creates silence – click on red photo right below for video or read below.

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Recently I was having a conversation with my mom. She clearly didn’t hear what I was saying, so I repeated myself but louder.   She abruptly went silent and left the room.

Confused, my dad asked, “Why are you yelling at your mother?

Then I realized my mother didn’t have her hearing aid in; my dad did. 

My mom reacted to the abrasive intensity of my voice, instead of hearing my words.  

Another scene: 

While attending an online conference, a notable speaker I’ve seen in the past amplified his voice so much I received it as yelling – abraisive.  I pressed the silent button.  It hurt my ears. His meaning was drowned by his loud voice.

His loudness changed his energy to something that felt abrasive, like a message in all CAPS – its hard to read.  ALL CAPS is the visual equivalent of yelling.

Another scene most people have witnessed:

There is a language barrier so we talk louder.  The intent is to make sure you are heard.  The execution is ineffective as the receiver hears yelling and goes silent. 

When you raise your voice,you tend to tense the voice and it comes out as yelling or an attack.  This creates resistance and you get the opposite intended result.

Raising your voice almost never works.  Here are somethings I’ve found helpful.


  • Ask your listeners if they can hear you, how’s my volume? If it’s an audience have someone else monitor the loudness
  • Are you tensing to project your voice, or are you centered – breathing – projecting from your gut?  
  • Is the environment conducive to talking, or do you need to wait and change the space? 
  • Are you trusting your technology and using microphones appropriately?  Do the others have their technology adjusted?

There is nothing quite like hurting my mom’s feelings to bring home a good communication point.  <sigh>