Chelle Wyatt is a member and often speaker with Audible Talkers Toastmasters. This is an online Toastmasters group so captions can be available for those needing it.
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Hearing Loss LIVE! presents Audible Talkers Toastmasters with Chelle Wyatt's speech on Vocal Variety, Even though I have a hearing loss, I understand the impact of vocal variety. People offer vocal variety when they make repeats to me. An example would be somebody saying, "Oh, I see, this is what I said." There's other people that go, "I said," and then there's other people, like my exhusband, he used to go, "I said." So because my exhusband thought my hearing loss was a pain in the ass. I thought everybody would think that way. But it wasn't true. But that's how I found life. And I worked at the salon at the time. And the salon was incredibly noisy place for somebody new to hearing loss and hearing aids. I had these new hearing aids and I couldn't hear speech above the noise. All this noise was blow dryers, hair dryers, the ventilation system, the radio. On top of all of that, seven coworkers with seven clients with seven different conversations going on. So with all this noise, I could not understand the client in my chair. Even though I had my hearing aids in. I used vocal variety, to bluff my way through every conversation just about[lughing]. I would say simple words or phrases to get through. I would watch their facial expressions in the mirror. And I would try to pick up their tone and I would match a tone for tone. So I could say, "wow," in a variety of different ways."Wow." "Wow." "Whoa." So if that didn't work, I would fill in the support phase of "Oh, that's nice." And that totally crashed on me one day, when the client in my chair, no expression, nothing in her face. And I took a wild stab at bluffing. And I said, "Oh, that's nice." Whoa, her facial expression changed and I knew I had it terribly wrong at that point. So I backpedaled. I let her know, I may not have heard her right[laughter]. And asked her what she was say-- what she had said. And it turned out she said her her sister had died, was getting ready to die and was in the hospital and she needed to leave the state. I was like "I am so sorry." I think she was trying to hold in all her emotions, so nothing came up. Even after that I wasn't always upfront about my hearing loss. Sometimes, I would bluff. Sometimes I'd make it work through vocal variety. And then other times not. I worked it out life moves on, right? So I had a big drop in hearing later on. And I had a hard time picking up vocal variety, picking up the tone of people's conversations. So I had to start being upfront about my hearing loss finally, which was not easy at first, and I would let them know what I needed, because there was no more bluffing. And in the end I actually found out it was less work than bluffing. So I was more direct with people. I need you to slow down and enunciate. This is a noisy environment. Most people work with me on that. But if people slow down too much, that can be a problem too. I was in a ski locker, locker room several years ago, another horribly noisy environment. With ski boots clunking down metal stairs, locker doors slamming. Everybody was inside eating lunch because it was snowing. There was music and I don't know how many conversations going on there. So I asked this real soft voice lady to slow down as she replied to me. Repeat it for me.She said:
[over enunciating] "I feel so bad for Suzy." [laughter] I was so embarrassed. I did finally get it. We don't want you to slow down that much. I need a moderate pace because too fast is another thing that that trips me up. For instance, you know when you go to a restaurant, and the waiter, waiting person is there, and they rattle off the special like rapid fire, [tattatata] it's very hard to understand that way too. So volume is another thing I need people to project. I don't need them to shout. That makes me defensive. [laughter] It also distorts speech and it kind of warps the message too. So shouting? No. Project, enunciate, slow down just a little bit, but not too much, right? I need clarity, not volume. So I I'm in the hearing world at home, and I talk like a hearing person. I talk really super fast or from anywhere, anything when I'm here, but I also work a lot with hard of hearing people who need me to slow down. So I found transitioning between the worlds was difficult at first, talking slower, more deliberately, and then talking like a normal person. But now I pretty much do it with ease. Albert Mehrabian has a message book called Silent Messages. It says, "we pay attention to 7% of spoken words, 38% of tone and 55% to body language." Some of the percents flipped me out at first. But you know what? He's right. After I let go of listening to every word, I am seeing a lot more the message come through with tone and body language. Add vocal variety, not just to speeches, use that in your everyday life, especially when talking to hard of hearing people. We are not animated enough. Give it a try. Find your local Audible Talkers Toastmasters toastmasters.org Want more Hearing Loss LIVE! Join us on our patreon.com/hearinglosslive platform