The winding down voice
To begin with, I am not a pro at using a winding down voice, but I know it works. I know the winding down voice works because when I use it, things wind down, tone down, and quiet down.
I am not a pro because my temperament is not a quiet, winding-down temperament. My natural inclination is to use my voice to get the attention of kiddos. A little extra punch to it made them aware I was not playing games on this one. When it comes to sparring1 with someone, I can give it out almost as fast as it is given to me.
There are times, however, that punching it back as quickly as it comes to me is not good or wise. Those are times the other party is erupting with words, emotions, and physical actions.
That is when it’s important to remember the wisdom of Solomon. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. This is something we know, but that doesn’t mean we’re good at doing.
Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, a co-worker, or a friend, remembering this advice helps pave the way for good relationships. Doing this helps cinch communication.
How to do the winding down voice
This is a matter of your choice, your will. You choose to use this voice. When there’s an argument, a disagreement, a frustration, or a melt-down, choose the winding-down voice. Get in the mode; lower the volume, lower the speed, and lower the expression. It’s time to wind-down, like going to bed. You “turn off the lights”, close the doors, pull the shades, and pull down the covers. Shhhhh. Don’t wake anybody up by your voice. Speak softly, quietly, and sloooowly.
The temperature in the room lowers, the frown on the face disappears, the fingers stuck in the ears come out, and the mood changes. That’s because you’ve changed the entire atmosphere in the room by the speed, sound, and tone of your voice.
Move from “marching to war” to “rocking a baby to sleep”; you’ll be amazed at the transformation that takes place in front of your eyes. The more you do this, the easier it becomes to switch from marching to winding down. I’ve had kids eating out of my hand when I’ve used the winding down voice and I know, oh how I know, that it works!
The end of the line
This takes time and practice, but it works. Begin in your mind. Make the choice, then follow through. Stay focused on the calm, the sun slooowly setting down behind the horizon, and let your voice follow the dip beyond the horizon.
Using the winding down voice does not mean you are in the wrong, or that you are the loser in an argument or a disagreement. It simply means you are in control of your mood, your voice, your emotions, and the atmosphere in the room because you turned on the winding down voice.
Look for opportunities to practice this so that when you really need to do it, you’ll be ready. Practice really does make perfect (even though we know nothing is ever really perfect). Use opportunities to practice this technique so it becomes familiar to you. It’s easier to slip into this mode when we have used it often enough that it comes more naturally. For some of us, the “comes naturally” part takes longer than others.
We will make mistakes. We’ll slip right into that “I’m in charge here” mode more often than we will care to admit. In the end, the more we do it, the easier it becomes. Remember that, and keep practicing until you’ve got it [almost] perfect!
1 engage in argument, typically of a kind that is prolonged or repeated but not violent.