Whispering dishes reminded me not to shout

shout and your message will be lost

whispering dishes
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Whispering is more powerful than shouting. Shout and your message will be lost. When the transmitter and receiver are focused, even the softest messages will be heard. How can we apply the principles of whispering dishes in real life?

Today I learned all about whispering dishes. We visited the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT), north of the village of Westerbork in The Netherlands. The Radio Telescope consists of 14 separate antennas with a diameter of 80 foot each and is quite an impressive sight. They work together to create a detailed image of a part of our universe.

Whispering dishes

Close to the Radio Telescope is an open field with two 8-foot-tall dishes facing each other 50 feet apart. These ‘whispering dishes’ focus sound in such a way that two people whispering across the 50-foot distance are able to hear each other perfectly. I tried it with my daughter and I could hear her whisper perfectly, standing 50 feet away. However, when we tried shouting, the message was distorted and we couldn’t make out each others words.

The whispering dishes demonstrated the power of focus to me. They made me realize that – especially the soft messages, which are often the most important – will be heard perfectly when the transmitter and receiver are focused.

Whispering is often more powerful than shouting. How can we apply these principles in real life?

Speak softly

Next time you give a presentation to a group of people, start speaking softly. I guarantee that the audience will listen attentively. Trying to hear what you have to say. From that moment on they will be focused. They are like all the separate Radio Telescopes tuning in to your transmission. Compare this to someone who starts a presentation with shouting. Chances are the audience will plug their ears and become irritable. The sound will be distorted and inaudible. The audience will not listen, walk away and totally miss the message.

Be whispering dishes when in a conversation

Next time you have a conversation with someone, try to be like the whispering dishes and face each other to be able to focus on each others’ words and facial expressions. Before you start, make sure you will not be interrupted by noises (both audible and visual) and mute your smartphones.

Write your e-mails personal and to the point

Of course it is impossible to whisper in a written message, like in an e-mail. But it is safe to say that the same principle applies here. When you write someone an e-mail with a long ‘shouting / unfocused’ message, trying to sell something, you will probably not be heard. When you write a short e-mail with a focused (personal, to the point) message instead, chances are you will be ‘heard’.

Blog with your audience in mind

The same goes for blogging. When you are writing a blog, try to direct your message to your audience. Write a focused blog that could benefit your readers. Make sure your message reaches them and they find it interesting enough to point their Radio Telescopes in your direction.

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