We all have moments when we wish we were better communicators: less nervous, more confident, better able to connect with and inspire members of our team, and more likely to really be heard by those listening. According to this week’s guest, “Owning your voice means feeling confident in the moment of communication because you know how to move through nerves and anxiety to say what you need to say so that it will resonate with your audience.”
This week, I speak with Jackie Miller, CEO and President of Bespoken, a communication coaching firm utilizing practical theatre techniques to help individuals and teams own their voice and speak with purpose.
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Read the related blog post: Own Your Voice in the Workplace
- Communicating effectively is a learned skill and we need to train it like a muscle. First, reflect on what aspect(s) of speaking you struggle with: projecting loud enough, presenting from a pre-written script, sharing criticisms without apology, commanding a meeting, etc.
- Techniques developed in theater were designed to help actors communicate given the extraordinary circumstances: People are staring at you in the dark and you’re supposed to pretend they’re not there. Pre-microphones, you had to project so people in the last row could hear you. You’re saying words that someone else has written and you need them to sound as if it’s the first time you’re saying them and that they’re your own words, even though you do it night after night.
- Step one is to connect your diaphragm and voice, to your breath and intention of what you want to communicate. (For a beautiful experiential walk through, listen to the episode.)
- When communicating in a stressful situation, think “outside-in” and ‘inside-out’.
- Outside-in: How is your body feeling? How are you physically sitting – with arms crossed, in a defensive stance, or more open? Are you fully facing the person so you’re giving them your full energy? What impression are you giving them?
- Inside-out: Think about the other person, their world, their situation. Imagine yourself in their shoes, how would you want to be spoken to in that moment? What tone feels right?
- Women and men’s voices are perceived differently in the workplace. Studies have been done with people reading the same script and yet the male voices are perceived as exponentially more authoritative and persuasive than the woman’s.
- Women and men can reference what other women have said by name to lift up their voices. Women can also appear more confident by removing fillers, qualifiers and apologies from their remarks.
KEEP UP WITH JACKIE AND BESPOKEN