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Minute 988 // Speak Softly

TODAY'S MESSAGE IS DEDICATED
IN MEMORY OF
ABRAHAM BEN ROSA A'H
BY EDDIE AND HELEN SHAMAH AND FAMILY

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There are certain things about school days that you never forget. Just the other day, I was listening to a speaker whose subject matter was very interesting, yet I had a problem focusing on what he was saying. As much as I tried to pay attention, I could not grasp the ideas he was trying to convey. Then I realized that he sounded a lot like an English teacher I had in high school. I remember that what she said was usually very interesting, yet I could not get through more than a few minutes of her class before I tuned out and started to daydream. The problem was that she spoke very loudly, almost screaming for the full forty minutes I was held captive in her classroom. This speaker hit me the same way. “If you must scream, then I must check out,” my brain said, and proceeded to take me on fabulous trips during the lecture to all kinds of beautiful fantasy islands, shopping sprees, and other virtual getaways.


I saw exactly the opposite effect when I recently suffered through a case of laryngitis. The doctors suggested total rest for the vocal cords and warned me not to even whisper, because that was a strain that would further aggravate the problem. For two solid weeks I spoke in very quiet tones, measuring the value of each word as if it were a diamond.


The result? Two lessons. One, only say the words that are necessary to get your point across. And two, people hear you much better when they are forced to pay attention to your soft words rather than your screams. Yelling, like blowing a car horn, should be used to warn of imminent danger, not to communicate important ideas.


When you are trying to overpower someone in conversation, argument, or reprimand, and your volume starts to peak, reverse course. Catch your listener’s undivided attention by lowering your voice rather than raising it. Speak softly, and it will have an effect.


 


CONSIDER THIS FOR A MINUTE


One who clings to sinners even though he does not do as they do receives punishments like theirs. But one who clings to the righteous benefits from their good deeds many times more. (Zohar, volume 1, paragraph 84)




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