Some people are just loud. Their voice is louder, their presence is louder, their movements are heavier. Although this is usually welcome in settings with a large amount of people – say the high school hall wall, the stock exchange or a football field – an office is not a place that is welcoming to people of grand stature. Reason for that is, in an office, which is usually open floor these days, people of various personalities, work habits and cultural tendencies are put together in a room and told to be productive. Everyone is productive in their own way.
Offices are kind of like class rooms without a teacher. They are wide spaces, that should house various personalities to perform similar tasks. Yet – unlike a class room, in an office people are there to do different things. Some people have more calls while others do more analysis on their own. Others are set up in teams that need to collaborate and others are individual contributors with repetitive tasks. So – you get a mix of everything. While introverts go under – loud people stand out even more.
This can be an advantage – don’t get me wrong. You get attention, you stand out and people know your name. You seem approachable and in a large company – that is a huge plus while many people go unrecognized. Yet – you may have noticed where I am going with this, you may be annoying your co-workers. We all have tasks to do, and we are all trying to do them the best way possible. Having to hear you across the hall talking about your project not only makes you seem insensitive (even though you may not be) but it also makes you seem self-interested – as if what you had to say was more important than what other people had to say. Your presence may take up a lot of space, even though you may be physically far far away from the person who is uncomfortable by your loudness.
So what can you do? Perhaps you are not aware of the effect you have on people. Yet:
- If you are a loud person – trust me you know it. I am not loud but I laugh loud, the way people look at me when I laugh shows me I have committed a crime for being loud. Reason why you feel like you might be loud but no one has said anything – trust me they have and you haven’t noticed. Which brings me to my next point:
- Acknowledge it. Embrace your noise. This is who you are and in some settings it is you true advantage. For example, loudness does well in networking settings or in sales. This is you – these are the tools you are given to get through life, learn to use them and when to use them.
- Try to have meetings in conference rooms. Even if its just a dial in. In this space you can be your unfiltered self, tap into all your potential and not have to worry about bothering others
- Learn to take a step back in meetings. Recognize you may dominate the conversation, so remind yourself once in a while to ask people for their opinion and their voice. And listen. Don’t interrupt them. Give them just as much time to talk as you took. Or – try at least.
Learn to accept that everyone is different. Sometimes that can be a cause of tension. And you don’t want to be associated with that feeling. Embrace yourself, know how you effect others and how you can be yourself around a quiet group of people. Who knows what you may find in the quiet.