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A Woman's Voice in a Business World

07 March 2011

Marion was not being listened to in the boardroom. She was smart, her input was crucial, but she was not being heard. The Board, who were all men, respected her, but felt she lacked gravitas.

Her business searched for ways to invest in her to maximise her talents. They didn't want to lose her.

They found their way to me, Voice Coach, and immediately her problems were clear. She didn't own her voice.

Marion's quality of voice was light and high pitched. When presenting business ideas, she would tilt her head to the side in an act of subconscious apology and would physically reduce the amount of space she took up by caving in her chest to protect her heart from potential attack. Because she had quicksilver intelligence, she spoke quickly to honour the alacrity of her thoughts, but in the same breath she would lose syllables and also half her audience. Marion was angered when she offered ideas in the boardroom and within minutes someone else would say the same thing and get credit for it.

Her body, voice and psyche had developed these patterns over time as survival strategies. But now she found they were undermining her credibility. Her board and staff misunderstood that she was a woman of quick fire wit, passionate vision and with an irreverent sense of humour.

Can you imagine how frustrating it was for her to have a voice that misrepresented her whole self? And how frustrating it was for her board and staff to sense that she could offer more. The truth was she was locked in an habitual prison restricting her ability to lead the business more powerfully.

Working with women's voices is a passion. A majority of my clients are women, who look to assert their right to speak in a, thankfully evolving, \"man's world\".

I have met women who describe their voices as mousey, breathy, unclear, and that they translate as lacking presence, confidence or seem disempowered.

A free, fully expressed voice is our birthright. Voice coaching is about rejuvenating and investing in this natural expression of self.

Voice Coach sessions:

- Explore how to have gravitas without sounding like a man.

- Develop techniques to express emotion without sounding illogical.

- Work with the body and voice so it is available to fully express what needs to be communicated.

- Clarify the psychology of owning a right to be present and heard, to stand behind your words and actions.

Marion spent 6 hours with me and reconnected to a voice that was vibrant, womanly and assertive. She found a way to buy time and expand her energy. Her thoughts landed with precision, so her Board could digest her sophisticated understanding of the business. She regained her 'boardroom cred' and was marked as an impassioned leader within her business and the industry.

Having a voice as a woman is a social responsibility. Our right to be heard was paved decades ago. If you dare to approach the glass ceiling, do it with commitment and courage by shedding your idiosyncratic heritage of limiting vocal and physical behaviours and embrace your right to speak and be heard.