How to Speak With Less Emotion

It’s true that delivering a powerful, moving, and emotional speech can sometimes be a make it or break it point. Imagine a coach trying to motivate his team, the boss trying to encourage employees, or a teacher trying to push their students to make it through the end of the year. Emotional speech can be a powerful tool to motivate and encourage those around you – but what happens when the line is crossed and you are suddenly speaking offensively and with a lot of anger in your voice?

I’ll tell you what happens – people check out of the conversation. You immediately become “the crazy person” who can’t control their emotions or can’t listen to a differing opinion without raising your voice and shaking your fist around. Perhaps to you, what you are feeling is just passion for your opinion, but there is a fine line between “speaking passionately” and “letting emotions drive the conversation”. There are a limited number of times when you really want to let emotions drive you in a speech and most of the times, it’s best to buckle them up into the back seat and let reason and logic rule the way.

How we identify these emotional situations and how we are reacting to them are important testaments to our character. When should we leave emotion at the door and take a “just-the-facts-ma’am” approach?

In Debate or Arguments

Engaging in a civil debate with another person means that you are agreeing to keep emotions out of it. I’m not talking about the kind of emotional response that is going to make you be passionate about your beliefs; I’m talking about the emotional response that will be triggered in a response to your opponent that includes a lot of f-bombs or punches being thrown. Those kinds of emotional responses have no place in debates and arguments.

At the Workplace

It’s best in meetings to present information in a calm and succinct way. If you have the facts to back up your position, then be ready to go with numbers and cold hard information to defend your position. It’s not always that easy, I know, but the honest truth is that the more you let yourself get angry, or upset, the more you’re just going to get worked up and getting worked up doesn't leave people with the idea that you know what you’re talking about.

When you feel your emotions rising to the boiling point, take a deep breath and count to ten before you respond, or you can ask to be excused or resume once you’ve had a moment to get your thoughts together.

While passion drives our ambitions, I think that once our emotions get out of hand, it’s time to reel a few things into perspective. Are you the person that people avoid at meetings? Is your line always forcibly muted on conference calls? Maybe you should consider a little less emotion the next time you open your mouth to speak.

What do you think? Is there a difference between passion and emotion? Do you think the louder a voice rises, the more someone is right or wrong? When do emotions get in the way of your message?

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