You know those people who appear calm in any situation – those people that everyone looks to and follows in an emergency? Do you want to be one of those people?
Appearing calm is a big advantage in a tense situation. It is something I had to learn as a mom of a child with severe medical disabilities. My son has severe epilepsy and he has seizures on a regular basis. He is super tough and his seizures don’t hurt him but they are very scary to watch for people who aren’t used to them.
If I seem calm and in control while my son is having a seizure, the people around me tend to be calm and trust that he is ok. If I show any signs of stress or worry, the people around me tend to get very concerned and the situation can escalate quickly.
Even doctors and nurses seem to take their cue from me. When I take him into the hospital, if I am calm, they are calm and they follow our procedure set up by his doctors. One time, I was up late the day before with another sick child and I had a headache so my voice betrayed stress. That little bit of stress changed the whole situation. The medical team read my stress as a sign that this seizure was more serious and severe and it was treated as a full emergency.
I learned that day not to underestimate the importance of my ability to appear calm even when I might not feel calm. My stress caused my son to have to undergo many unnecessary tests. I made the commitment not to let that happen again.
As a parent there are many times we might feel stress, worry, or anxiety, but we want our kids to feel calm and safe. Appearing calm in hard situations can help our families and help us. But how do you do it?
How To Appear Calm In Any Situation:
- Tone – The tone of your voice refers to how high or low the pitch of your voice is. When your voice is too high, people interpret that as you feeling stressed or angry, out of control, and/or untrustworthy.
People interpret a low tone of voice as anger, patronizing, or not intelligent.
In order to appear calm and in control, try to keep the tone of your voice right in the middle – not too high or too low.
- Volume – Volume is how loudly you are speaking. Most of us know that a loud voice seems angry and/or out of control. Speaking too softly is also bad in a tense situation because it seems afraid.
Try to keep your voice in a nice natural volume that is not too loud but not to soft.
- Rhythm – The speed of your voice is another important thing to be aware of if you want to appear calm in a tense situation. When we speak too fast, we seem stressed, worried, angry, and/or out of control.
When we speak too slow, we seem angry, bored, or not very reliable depending on the tone.
A steady, natural rhythm of your voice helps you appear calm and in control of your emotions.
This takes practice and it is helpful to ask people if you are not sure how your voice sounds. Recording yourself is also helpful. There are obviously other factors that help us appear calm. We should be careful to limit our hand gestures and keep our hands away from our hair. We should also be careful with what we say, but how we speak has much more power than what we say when we are trying to appear calm and in control.