When people repeat what you say just after you’ve said it, it can drive you to distraction, but many people don’t even know that they’re doing it. It’s better to adapt. Be patient and kind towards them . It’s just an expression of their love and admiration for you.
The same reasoning applies when others express their love and admiration by finishing off what we’ve begun to say.
It’s a habit that can be irritating when your partner, child, sister, brother, colleague, friend finishes off your sentences for you. It can also be scary to know that someone is so right in predicting what you’re going to say. When this happens, take heart and be kind – it’s a demonstration of love and admiration.
Susan Dikker of New York’s University Department of Psychology says that the predictive power of our brains can play an important role in human communication, (as if we didn’t know):-
“During conversation, we adapt our speech rate and word choices to each other — for example, when explaining science to a child as opposed to a fellow scientist — and these processes are governed by our brains, which correspondingly align to each other.”
Consider what happened to Echo, the nymph from Greek mythology, who was hopelessly in love with Narcissus and pined away until nothing was left of her but her voice.
“For better or worse, the further from the midrange of things you go, the less relative qualities matter. The same holds true for wavelengths: Pass a certain point and you can hardly tell which of two adjacent notes is higher in pitch, until eventually you can’t distinguish them and finally – you can’t hear them at all.”
It’s true that there are some great voices in the media and acting world at the moment. Some will make you melt some will make you cry and some will make you angry, but it’s unlikely that any of them will alienate you.
This alienation (being pushed away by someone’s voice) happens when the person’s voice sounds different to yours, (hostile) or without appropriate emotional content. Comforting and gentle voices are what we need to hear when we’re ill or in shock – it’s one of the reasons why children in hospital need to hear their parents voices or old people in care need to hear gentle voices around them.
While some accents and dialects can sound harsher than others, it’s not the accent itself that will alienate; it’s the way the accent is used that will express the harshness/softness, emotionless/emotional element of our voice.
Sometimes coaching in elocution is referred to as accent softening – particularly by companies in India. The different use of breath and rhythm in standard English is seen as a means of “softening” the way Indian English is spoken. Whatever the first language (and there are over 400 of them in London at the moment), real connection and use of voice come from understanding how the voice works. Coaches, carers and counsellors are increasing in numbers on the Speak English Clearly course. The benefit of learning an English accent that will be understood internationally is good. The importance of being able to comfort and put people at ease with your voice in the caring professions is paramount. This is why coaching in the way we produce the voice and the thought to voice connection is also taught on the Speak English Clearly course.
To find out more about the specialist course on thought to voice connection go to our Improve Your Voice by 90% course page
To find out more about learning standard English go to our Speak English Clearly page
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