How to Speak Powerfully

How can we speak powerfully to bring about change in the world? If you ever felt like you're talking, but nobody is listening, Julian Treasure explains why in under 10 minutes.

The seven deadly sins of speaking and things we need to avoid:

  1. Gossip – speaking ill of someone who is not present
  2. Judging – we know people who are like this in conversation
  3. Being negative – it's hard to listen when someone is negative
  4. Complaining – Treasure dubbed it the national art of the U.K.; it's viral misery
  5. Making excuses – we all know what form that takes; some people have a blame-thrower
  6. Exaggerating – which becomes lying at the extreme; it demeans out language, what do we call "awesome" these days?
  7. Being dogmatic – confusing facts with opinions; it's difficult to listen to that

Is there a positive way to go about speaking? There are four very powerful foundations, cornerstones we can stand on, says Treasure. They form the acronym HAIL, which means to greet or claim enthusiastically.

  • Honesty being straight and clear
  • Authenticity or being yourself – "standing in your own truth"
  • Integrity doing what you say, someone people can trust
  • Love or wishing people well

In combination, these behaviors are very powerful; for example, moderating honesty with love or empathy, so you temper your remarks, or a starker one — it's probably very difficult to judge someone when you wish them well.

It is not just about what you say, it is also how you say it. We have an extraordinary toolbox, our voice.

Learning to adjust register, timbre — research shows we prefer voices that are rich, smooth like hot chocolate, and have some depth — prosody, pace, pitch, and volume goes hand in hand with being thoughtful about what you say. Silence is a good thing, too.

[more about the Sound of Silence]

At the end it is about creating, delivery, receiving in the right time and space.

Let's greet the new week, powerfully.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.