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Make Your Voice Count
12 April 2011
Here are my do’ and don’ts if you are a woman, who wants to, cares about, needs to or already has a voice in business.
- Do claim your warrior woman strength for tough communications.
- Know that your voice has the capacity to express your fullest measure of your power and humanity.
- Know it is your birthright to voice your thoughts and feelings. That is the function of the voice and you were born with it.
- Do rely on your intuition and your ability to read the subtlety of a communication.
- Do take your time in speaking so you can respond with your inner intelligence.
- If your inner voice is saying something be sure you speak it. The skill is in crafting it in a way that can be digested by your audience.
- Make sure you lay claim to your ideas if they are hijacked or plagiarised.
- Read the energy of the meeting and be sure to be on the same energetic playing field as the rest of the group. This doesn’t mean that you have to necessarily mimic the energy but be sure you can read it so you can move with it or against it strategically.
- Breathe so that you can hear what is actually going on.
- Assume that what you have to say is worth listening to.
- Make sure you hold the conch (the conch shell from Lord of the Flies that gives you the right to speak). When you have the conch, assume the right that goes with it.
- Look people in the eye when you are speaking to see that they are with you.
- Muster your courage. Some things take courage to speak. Be brave, claim the moment with grace and speak it.
- Take your ego out of it, so you communication can be offered simply, clearly and directly.
- Don’t upward inflect. It makes you sound uncertain, unless it is strategic.
- Don’t giggle after speaking unless it is strategic.
- Don’t trail off if you want to be direct and be heard.
- Don’t leave the room before you leave the room.
- Don’t just use one vocal mode or colour. Communication is much more subtle than that.
- Don’t think you can’t change the voice you are stuck with. Most adult voices are habitual not natural. Develop your voice to revive your natural right for nuance and complexity.
- If people aren’t with you then don’t just keep barrelling through and hope they will get it. Be compassionate and proactive. Seek a connection with your audience and make them responsible for being in the communication with you.
- Don’t shy in a corner. If you are there for a reason, then make a decision on that and be there for it.
- Don’t hold your breath. You will miss your turn to speak and you will be holding onto thoughts and feelings. Plus you will be stuck in a moment that passed seconds ago and not be agile enough to speak into this one.
- Don’t think that there is no place for emotions in the workplace. Are you kidding? Be passionate. Be empowered. But be sure that your voice can withstand the emotion that you are conveying. A tight voice will divert the emotional energy so that it sounds like panic, unsafe and chaotic. If you speak with passion, stay grounded, be supported with breath, open your throat and stay in the communication so you are also responsible for what happens next.