We all want to be heard. Whether in our daily conversations or in a business setting, everyone hopes that those around them will truly listen to them, and will want to keep listening. It’s a great dream, but not always our reality. Julian Treasure of the Sound Agency gave an insightful TED talk on how we as speakers can talk so that others will want to listen. At Leave Me On Hold, we use all of these tips and tricks to craft on-hold messages that customers want to listen to, instead of have to.

If you want to take some of these tips for your own personal or professional use, here is a quick summary of Treasure’s points (or you can watch his 10-minute TED Talk below).

There are 7 ‘deadly sins’ of speaking that we may all be guilty of from time to time, and we should try to cut these out of our speaking habits. They are:

  • Gossiping
  • Judging
  • Negativity
  • Complaining
  • Excuses
  • Lying
  • Dogmatism

Once we veer away from these bad habits, there are 4 powerful cornerstones that we can stand on to make our speech more powerful, in the form of the acronym HAIL.


H – Honesty (be clear and straight)

A – Authenticity (be yourself, standing on your own truth)

I – Integrity (be your word)

L- Love (wish them well)

Now there are definitely exceptions to these rules, and Treasure goes more in depth on this in his talk. Along with keeping these mindsets in the forefront of our speaking, there are some ‘unused tools’ in our vocal toolboxes that many of us never take advantage of, including register, prosody, pace, silence, pitch, and volume. You can warm up your voice using a number of quick vocal exercises, as demonstrated in his talk, and your vocal engine will be ready to go.

In a perfect world, everyone would speak in a way that others would want to listen. Treasure notes that in this ideal world, “Understanding would be the norm. And that’s an idea worth spreading”. The human voice is a powerful tool. It can start a war, or say I love you. Knowing how to speak so your voice finds listeners can be the most influential device of all.