Three years ago, extensive radiation on my tongue caused me to lose my voice. There is a nerve in the tongue called the hypoglossal nerve. It failed and affected my vocal cords. The result was a my vocal cords stopped working and I lost my voice.
I was a big talker and felt this was a permanent set back. No voice is something few people think about until it happens to you. Immediately I began looking for the opportunities this situation created for me.
What was I capable of doing now? Are benefits of not being able to talk?
First, you do serious soul searching as to how you’re going to communicate with other people. Here’s what happens, first, you listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Many times it is not what they say, but how the say it. You get a different insight on the person and conversation. Since it is more difficult to talk, word selection and the number of words used becomes more important.
Because of the limitations, you get to the point quickly, and actually improve the quality of the conversation….very little pomposity. So no voice can be a benefit.
One other important element, the conversation requires good eye contact, and this can be a new experience for many people. So even though you have lost your voice, you still can have meaningful communication through eye contact with the other person.
Since it has been established that you can have a conversation with no voice, how is it done? Here are three techniques I frequently use, and they work.
Two of the most important tools to always have with you are a pen and tablet. You can begin a conversation, respond to a comment or ask a question. Just write it down for the other person to read.
Next, and this can be amusing, you use charades. You are able to capture the person’s attention and imagination. You are engaged with the other person.
The next tool is to have someone with you that “understands” what you say and can serve as an interpreter. The added value with this approach is you now have three people involved in a conversation.
Each of these methods is effective and easy to incorporate. Losing your voice for any reason does not have to stop you from having a conversation with another person. Taking the time to think about what you want to say and how to say it can be very rewarding.
Most people become interested in what your thoughts are and become interested in how you communicate with them. No voice does not mean that you have no brain or can’t communicate. It is up to you to be pro active in your efforts to blend into conversations and to express your thoughts. You can do it!
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