Your voice is your transmitter

Animals mainly understand the tone of your voice, not your words. Your voice establishes who you are. Just as your accent shows your origins, a mumble reflects fear. Children know whether to respect or to bully you. If you have a babyish voice, they won't respect you. If your voice is animated, you are seen as assertive.

You should sound calm, natural and relaxed, as though you are talking about the weather or are at home with your family. The trick is to focus on your breathing - slow and deep - to stay calm. Alternatively, you can use silence to create a space between you and others: just stop, wait, and wait, which forces them to act.

SPEAK LOUDLY

• Do others keep asking you to repeat yourself? Shy kids speak very quietly. It's no use learning a great retort that nobody hears.

• If you have a boring voice (get feedback), then be loud. The bullies will think you are less scared.

• You might say 'Stop it!' in your best 'Grade Three teacher' voice, or shout in front of a group, 'When will you stop bullying me?'

SPEAK CLEARLY

Mumbling is no good: you run the risk of sounding passive or passive-aggressive. Speak clearly so that your friends, family and the bully understand the words you use and what you want.

• Practise sounding clear, firm and assertive.

• Try whispering with a smile on your face, while moving up very close to a bully. This will look assertive.

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