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A Calm Voice Can Claim Power

This post was most recently updated on March 26th, 2014

A Calm VoiceMany clients of mine have the problem of a co-worker or family member that is argumentative and confrontational.

 “What do I do?”
 “Do I get a new job?”  
 “Should I move away from this neighbor?”  
” Should I never talk to my sister again?”

These are some of the many questions I hear from clients when they are stuck in a situation that has them feeling:

  • drained
  • angry
  • intimidated
  • anxious
  • stressful

On and on those terrible feelings go……..

 

One client was at her job for 19 years and felt like she was burning out.   

Her manager kept questioning her performance level when she knew she was doing two jobs at once!  Other gals in her office were not even socializing with her anymore.  She insists they were all whispering behind her back.  She is a conscientious woman who goes to work and gets her job done.  When she goes home, she leaves her job behind.  She is a single woman with a full and active life.  She vacations twice a year and is now investing in a summer home.

 

Wouldn’t you say she seems like a well adjusted individual?  I think so.  

 

But the constant stress of her job had worn her down so much that she wanted to quit and find another job.  That’s when she came to me for advice.

 

“Quit now? Heck no!” I told her.  “Stand your ground.  You do not have to allow people to knock you down when you deserve the position you have worked so hard to attain.”

 

She didn’t know how to deal with these constant confrontations.  I suggested she communicate in a different way.  Don’t hold all those feelings inside.  There is a better way to deal with confrontation.  I made this video to show you the power of simply, but firmly, using your “calm voice” amidst the storm of verbal assault.

 

Seems simple doesn’t it?  But practicing this method works quite well in many circumstances.  It is a technique you can apply when faced with any adversity.  Rather than feeding into the negative energy of your “attackers”, it quickly disarms them.

 

So claim you power, not through force, but by asserting your calm voice when confronted with rebuke, indignation and even rage.

 

What do you think?  Have you ever used this method?  If so, how did it work out for you? If not, how did you feel when you got sucked into a negative confrontation?  Did it solve anything by engaging in a yelling match?  I would really like to know.

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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39 Responses to A Calm Voice Can Claim Power

  1. Sonia May 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Awesome advice. I grew up in a house where a loud voice was the norm. My mother always yelled and it was something I always wanted to avoid doing myself. I do talk loud, but not in a mean way. But at home, I tend to talk lower when it comes to my man and my relationship with him. He is the yeller in the house and he once told me that my calmness “calms” him down when I don’t give it back to him.

    Maybe people expect that and that’s the way they just speak to one another. But in the work place, it just doesn’t work. My ex boss did that when his “numbers” were low from his salespeople and it was very deflating when he acted like that. People avoided him at all costs and it was a very abusive working environment. Great post Donna!
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  2. Mayura
    Twitter:
    April 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Wonderful advice dear 🙂 Let me say that this advice can change lot of things in lives.

    Ohw YES 🙂 I’ve been using this methodology since my childhood. Co-worker? Oh no. Actually it’s my father and I’m grateful to him for making me the person who I am today 🙂

    As I used to it from my home, I know fist to fist is never gonna make it. But for a kid’s mind, that’s terrible though.

    Anyway I just don’t deal with it and same follows when a similar incident acting up Donna. Once I’ve worked for a company and when I get rewards, I had to deal with the same situation with co-workers too. Even with rumors 🙂 Anyway my patience and calm voice saved me.

    You have a wonderful week ahead Donna 🙂

    Cheers…
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      Hi Mayura,

      Oh my, you have experienced a lot! I have many clients that have to deal with co workers like that, especially those rumors!

      A calm voice always wins!

      Good for you,

      Donna
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..Go-GivingMy Profile

  3. Cherrie Bautista April 26, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    I totally agree, Donna. I’ve seen individuals getting all too drained from their working relationships. There’s just too much negativity in some of the workplaces. I am lucky that I work with positive individuals right now. I’ve seen how the “calm voice” worked before, and it is indeed powerful. I’ve also seen people who tried to be as confrontational as the others and either they left the team or company, or they were fired. Excellent advice.
    Cherrie Bautista recently posted..Inspiring Women Like You Are Rising UpMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

      Thank you Cherrie!

      Oh those confrontational people! Yikes, they really get nowhere and cause immediate dislike from others. It is like they are children trying to prove the are right.

      I keep clear away from that! But if I am stuck with one of them, that calm voice sure does the trick!

      Donna
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  4. Mary Stephenson
    Twitter:
    April 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Hi Donna

    Have used the calm firm voice a number of times when I was working at a company. Had a really psycho boss. She could be your best friend one minute and your worst nightmare the next. She had ADD and was bipolar (this is self-admitted). She caused a lot of nightmares for a lot of people. Many will never go back to work for her. The negative energy within the whole company was huge. Hard to rise above such stuff. They made my day when they laid me off. I was getting sick from the constant up and down emotions and back stabbing by a few others. Some work environments are just not worth the effort to improve. With no in house HR and only be able to go through psycho boss to get to them, left no real possibility to change the situation.

    But will agree with you a calm voice works so much better than stooping as low as the person yelling…it takes away their power. The louder they get the lower my voice goes. They have to shut up to hear!

    Mary
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      So happy you got laid off Mary!

      Some people have no alternative, until they can find another job. In a work situation like this, it is so hard to cope.

      Many of my clients call me frantically not knowing what to do. Some want to just walk out, but there is no where to go. Always best to have a plan and to seek a new job before you bolt.

      In your case you were one of the lucky ones. I’m sure that if you ever wanted to work again, you would carefully interview your boss!

      Donna
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  5. Yorinda April 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    great suggestions.

    Staying calm when other people get irate about something takes practice.

    One thing that helps me is what I learned about Transactional Analysis.
    When I remember that when people are not relating rationally they are not in their ‘adult self’.
    When we stay calm we remain in our adult self which in turn addresses their adult self and helps them to relate from there.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.
    Love and Light
    Yorinda
    Yorinda recently posted..How coconut oil may benefit your healthMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      So glad you brought up Transactional Analysis Yorinda!

      Yes, when people are calm they are in their “adult self.” It is the only way to communicate well.

      When they are screaming and/or taking tantrums, all you can do is walk away, just like you would do with a two year old.

      Thanks for the input!

      Donna
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  6. Raena Lynn April 24, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I love your videos. Dealing with confrontation the way you explained gets a high five! I have been fortunate that I have not dealt with the type of confrontation you discussed. I didn’t come from a “yelling” family, but I have had occasional situations with one or two people that use anger to express themselves. I’m not around any of them because I won’t tolerate it. However, if I have to deal with it, I think your method is great. I can see how it catches people off guard because they want a fight. It’s best to ignore or stay calm.

    I avoid confrontation so maybe that is why I have not experienced it that much. It isn’t my scene. It isn’t worth being in any relationship when people behave in that manner, even if it’s family. I don’t agree with suppressing either so I’m all for a conversation to “clear the air.” Thanks Donna!

    Raena Lynn
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 24, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

      Hi Raena,

      Ahh you are one of the lucky ones lol! I won’t have anything to do with people that are confrontational or negative. I shun them like the plague.

      However, many of my clients do have jobs, and ones they have no alternative to leave. They are stuck and need to be there. So, with a little practice and a few magic tricks, they can get by.

      I do agree that suppressing can be the wrong road either. Thanks for bringing that up.

      Donna
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  7. Chery Schmidt
    Twitter:
    April 24, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    Hi Donna! This is something that I learned from my ex-hubby! Yes Calm Voice It would piss him off to. It does work.. Great Video Girl Thanks for sharing.. Chery 🙂
    Chery Schmidt recently posted..At Some Point In Life Everyone Needs HelpMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

      He He Chery,

      I did that to my ex too and he would get so mad, he would leave. Ahh peace and quiet!

      Donna
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  8. Neamat Tawadrous
    Twitter:
    April 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Great Post and a wonderful advice.

    Indeed, facing anger with anger is like adding gas to fire. It will lead to nowhere but more anger.

    Using a calm voice is really key in our stressful times. If we are calm and holding our composure, we will be more effective in getting our message across. I find this is true even when talking with my kids. The calmer I am the more I feel they listen and act on what they heard.

    Thanks Donna for such a great advice.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 24, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

      Hi Neamat.

      Yes, it works for kids so well. They can have a sugar day and be bouncing off the walls. Then you walk in the room and talk calmly and slowly but surely they do calm down too.

      And yes, our message comes across more effectively when we use our calm voice.

      Donna
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  9. Carolyn
    Twitter:
    April 23, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Hi Donna, I agree with you. Responding to anger with calm can be very powerful. I have found that works especially well with children. If you remain calm in the face of their anger, you can turn the situation around and teach them how to keep peaceful even when they’re upset.

    However, I respectfully disagree with you about whether your client should leave her job. I believe she should. A flower cannot bloom in a harsh environment. She should move to a work place where positive people will lift her up and appreciate her considerable efforts. Working with insecure people who put you down and are threatened by your success is a recipe for frustration.

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

      Hi Carolyn,

      Yes this does work well with children. Shouting at them will get you nowhere….plus I feel it is abusive to the child!

      As for my client, if she just bolts, there is no other job for her yet. Living from pay check to pay check is a difficult situation for her. She needs to find something else first.

      Plus, she also has a long track record of having this particular situation in her life. She needs to “break the chains” plus a little therapy in the mix will help her.

      I do agree with you that a flower cannot bloom in a harsh situation, but her back is against the wall right now.

      Thanks for your input!

      Donna
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  10. Sherman Smith April 22, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Hey Donna, I just read yesterday a story on facebook similar to this subject. This is a Hindu story entitled “Why we shout in anger”…. it shows that when two hearts are far apart and to cover this distance they must shout to hear each other, but when two people are in love, they’re hearts are close together.. the closer the hearts are the more quiet they talk to each other. When they are one, there is silence. I can definitely say how using a calm voice can definitely help a situation of confrontation, especially with the Hindu analogy. Thanks for sharing!

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

      Hi Sherman,

      Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. It illustrates this topic so well.

      If only more people would understand this beautiful story, it would create more peace.

      Thanks again,

      Donna
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..A Calm Voice Can Claim PowerMy Profile

  11. Barbara Charles
    Twitter:
    April 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    Yes I’ve used this method. Especially when people around you are excitable. Just last week I avoided a negative confrontation by softening my voice and backing away when it could easily have become a crazy confrontation. It was easy to just let it go although she reacted later which is another story. Never feed into negative energy because it can escalate and become irreparable. Thanks Donna for bringing this up to us and helping people understand how to difuse a situation.
    Barbara
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

      Hey Barbara!

      I always see feeding a negative situation as putting lightning fluid on the b-b-q. Ever see someone do that and the flames shooting up high?

      That is the image in my mind when I see two people shouting at one another.

      Thanks for your input,

      Donna
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  12. Sylviane Nuccio
    Twitter:
    April 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    People who shout have actually no power. I remember my mother getting frustrated with me and my bother as kids and she would yell a lot, but frankly she would have accomplished much more without affecting her health with a calm voice. But I noticed that people who tend to yell, just don’t seem to be able to help it. It would take awareness and effort on their part to stop yelling.

    Now, when someone yells, we should do our best not to yell back. I really agree with this point of yours. I think that a calm voice is 10 times more powerful then a yelling angry voice. The person yelling in front of you has no choice but to quiet and calm down.

    Thanks for bring this point across 🙂
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..6 Easy Ways To Invest In YourselfMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

      Thank you Sylviane!

      My mom was a yeller too! Oh how she used to scream each day. But did we listen? NO! We just got to the point where we laughed at her and made fun of her. She NEVER got her point across.

      At a young age, I realized, it wasn’t about me or my brothers, but it was about her and her frustrations.

      Maybe that’s why I like using a calm voice.

      Donna
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  13. Mike Robertson April 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi Donna

    I’ve found on a few occasions that it’s much better to lower rather than raise my voice when confronted with someone shouting.

    It makes the other person actually stop and have to listen to what you are saying, it tends to help calm them down & stop them from further shouting.
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

      Hi Mike!

      You are right! It does tend to calm down the other person and have them listen when you are talking in that calm voice.

      I just love it when that happens.

      Cheers,

      Donna
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  14. Adrienne
    Twitter:
    April 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    I use to have a friend Donna and she had this issue with her co-workers. I use to tell her not to stoop to their level. Instead, do the opposite. If they come in and not smile at her, smile at them anyway. If they raise their voice at her, don’t do it to them. By the end of the week they seemed to have a totally different attitude towards her.

    I told her when you put out better energy it will come back to you. Don’t let them treat you like that and don’t let them drag you down. After that they all seemed to want to be around her. It’s amazing how that works.

    Great advice!

    ~Adrienne
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 22, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      Good for you Adrienne!

      It is so true. We cannot allow anyone to treat us like that.

      I have so many clients that have this problem in the work place. I just wish they didn’t have to deal with all that and join us in cyber world.

      But people have to do what they have to do. This is quite common in the work place. That’s why I’m giving a little shout out to those who are stuck.

      Donna
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  15. Gladys
    Twitter:
    April 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Hello Donna

    A calm voice. What a good post.
    I can really say, that when I was younger, I was a pistol, but as I matured, I learned by experiences, that when someone is yelling, I talk to myself and I do not allow someone’s anger, bitterness, and rage to define me. If the opportunity comes around again, then I will share some of the things that I have learned to help others. I can be assertive without speaking condescending to anyone.
    I believe we need to stand our ground, but in which manner?

    Thank you Donna

    Gladys
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Absolutely Gladys!

      We do need to stand our own ground in an “effective” manner. We don’t have to lower ourselves into the anger problem.

      Thanks for your input.

      Donna
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  16. Glenn Robinson April 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Excellent advice Donna! Thank you for sharing.

  17. Corina Ramos April 22, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    For the most part I use my quiet, reasoning voice but there have been instances when I have yelled at someone to get my point across but believe me it takes a lot to get me to that point.

    I try to stay in a peaceful, calm zen-like state so I tend to avoid yelling and yellers 🙂

    I can relate to your client with the supervisor…I had one of those myself and doing two jobs. That was too much for me which is why I’m working from home now.

    Loved the video Donna! Have a great week 🙂
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Thanks Corina,

      I’m pretty calm myself and use that soft voice when someone is yelling or bugging me.

      BUT…I’m from Brooklyn, and even though it takes a lot, I can tear down a person to shreds if they do overstep their boundaries lol

      Donna
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  18. Lisa
    Twitter:
    April 22, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Great topic Donna, I always try to stay calm. Sometimes it’s not easy when the other person begins shouting and slamming doors. But staying calm can really help you and sometimes change the other persons screaming and demeanor. If someone is always screaming about this and that, it’s like the boy who cried wolf – you’ll never know when it’s a really big issue. You begin to block them out. Thanks for sharing the video Donna.
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      I learned this “trick” a long time ago and it works like magic. No one has the right to scream or demean you. It is against our human rights!

      Instead of fighting back, that calm voice does the trick. The person that is out of control gets so confused that they eventually give up.

      Let’s face it, doing this behavior is to wear you down. They cannot win when you are sitting there calmly.

      Donna
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..A Calm Voice Can Claim PowerMy Profile

  19. Harleena Singh
    Twitter:
    April 22, 2013 at 4:33 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Oh yes…this IS the real way to be heard I would say 🙂

    We can never get across our voice to anyone when we shout, yet, or speak something when we are angry. Just as you wonderfully mentioned in the video, we often tend to babble away things that others can never heard nor understand, and all of this results in nothing.

    Using a calm voice is the key to be heard. If you are calm and composed, you are able to convey what you want to in a more effective way, and most importantly, you are heard.

    Same is the way with kids who don’t listen to you. Most parents have a tough time getting them to listen, and they often resort to shouting, yelling, or sometimes even hitting them in their anger, but it all leads to nothing because they still don’t listen. Instead, you get exhausted shouting. But if you change your tone and way of expression to using a calmer and softer, yet firmer tone, it works wonders.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Understanding the Power of BeliefMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Harleena,

      Thanks for your wonderful comment!

      I find this especially a good way to communicate with our children. And YOU of all people know that one! I’ve read your wonderful blog posts about it and you know what works.

      A calm voice wins all the time!

      Thanks,
      Donna
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  20. Sue Price
    Twitter:
    April 22, 2013 at 2:09 am #

    Hi Donna

    Great advice and I so agree, it is absolutely crazy to meet anger with anger. I saw the saying the other day “fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity” . To me it said it all. 🙂

    In my experience if people cannot draw you in and you do not show that you are ruffled in time they will leave you alone.

    Great advice Donna

    Sue
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    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      Absolutely Sue!

      I like that quote..so true. When we fight negative with negative it just does not work.

      I was so moved to write this post because a had too many clients asking the same question. When that happens it give me good cause to blog about it.

      Thanks,
      Donna
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