What we value, our ideas, and what we bring to the table all are conveyed through the vehicle of voice. Yet comparatively few women—even highly successful women—know how to use the power of voice effectively.
Having a seat at the table is not the same as having a voice at the table. If you cannot command a space with your voice, you will not be able to fully leverage your knowledge and authority. If you cannot get a word in—if you make a suggestion that seems to go unnoticed, then your colleague three chairs down makes the same suggestion and suddenly the room is buzzing with praise—you are not owning and extending the power of your voice.
Owning and extending the power of your voice gives the psychological impression that your opinion matters; that you’re qualified to speak out on important issues, and influential people will listen and take you seriously. Ask yourself, “Can I be 100% confident that I’m projecting my knowledge and experience to the world?” Or perhaps, your voice is sending out a very different and less persuasive message.
In my work as an executive voice coach, I have found that many women have unconscious habits that undermine their authority and their message, and negatively impact the way they are being perceived, whether in the boardroom, on stage, or in closed-door meetings. Further, if a woman cannot be heard, she will not be understood. Your listeners should never have to “work” to hear you, instead you need to claim your space with your voice. Remember, you have earned the right to be heard . . . but only if you speak resolutely will people listen to the claims you are making.
Please view the clip below and think about the difference between “before” and “after.”
VIDEO CLIP: Margaret Thatcher: Before and After
In this series of posts and accompanying videos, I’ll cover many of the basics of owning and extending the power of your voice. Stay tuned for more!
“How you express your opinions at work (or not) is a direct reflection upon how people experience who you are and what you represent as a team member, department leader and as an individual. Your voice defines the value you bring to the organization. In most cases, your identity is misrepresented because your voice does not consistently communicate what is really on your mind.” -Forbes
Hillary Wicht is an executive voice coach who helps clients develop their voices for leadership, so they can step more fully into their power and influence. She empowers voices in board rooms, court rooms, sales meetings, and on the stage—building competence and confidence, and helping women to discover an impactful voice and presence that creates success in their careers and lives. Contact or 310-916-6262.