Julian Treasure On How to Speak so that People Want to Listen

The human voice. It’s the instrument we all play. It’s the most powerful sound in the world, probably. It’s the only one that can start a war, or say I love you. And yet, many people have the experience that when they speak, people don’t listen to them. Why is that? How can we speak powerfully to make change in the world?
— Julian Treasure

In this fascinating talk, Julian Treasure pinpoints just how important it is to pay attention to speaking powerfully, listening consciously and designing soundscapes in our world that sound beautiful, where understanding is the norm, and not something that is alien and unreachable.

Watching this video has made us realise that we need to acknowledge the amazing tool box we have for our voices, which can increase the power of our speaking. There’s factors such as register, timbre, prosody, pace, silence, pitch, and volume that all have a great impact upon the way you can capture attention and be engaging with whoever you are talking to, be it on a stage or an intimate one-on-one conversation.

We don’t all automatically have deep and rich voices, both associated with authority and power, but we can train the ways in which we speak.

Julian acknowledges the bad habits everyone can fall into that hamper our ability to speak powerfully and listen consciously:

 The 7 Deadly Sins of Speaking






Lying - Embroidery & Exaggeration

Dogmatism - the confusion of facts with opinions

However, he also addresses the 4 cornerstones we can all stand on if we want our speech to be powerful and actually make a difference:

Honesty, to be clear and straight

Authenticity, be yourself

Integrity, be your word

Love, wish them well

Easy to remember, this spells out HAIL, which fittingly means to greet or acclaim enthusiastically.

In our eyes, there definitely needs to be more enthusiasm for speaking in this world! More room for listening, and certainly more room for understanding. We’re going to try replacing some of those 7 deadly sins (however tempting some of them may be!) with more Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity, and Love and see what happens. And not just when we’re focused on getting our own way either…!


Have you ever felt like you're talking, but nobody is listening? Here's Julian Treasure to help you fix that. As the sound expert demonstrates some useful vocal exercises and shares tips on how to speak with empathy, he offers his vision for a sonorous world of listening and understanding.

Words by Lottie Franklin