Find Your Voice

18 Nov
FIND YOUR VOICE


Someone to Learn From

It’s 10:45, and you’re attending a meeting with your colleagues virtually and in person, led by the CEO. The topic is shrouded in mystery; however, many believe it concerns what lies ahead and the organization’s future. From the moment the CEO is introduced and takes center stage, you can’t help but notice how confident they are when addressing your colleagues. They are composed, well-spoken, professional, and relaxed. You find yourself mesmerized by their demeanour as they comfortably walk back and forth, scanning the room and seemingly making eye contact with everyone in it. You begin to see them as someone you could learn from and wonder how they developed their executive voice.

The CEO

What’s an Executive Voice?

According to Rebecca Shambaugh, an executive voice is an ability to establish credibility, inspire and influence others. Your CEO demonstrates their ability to connect with everyone through confidence and their interactions with colleagues. You wonder how they can speak so effortlessly under pressure to these industry professionals as if they’ve known them for years. An executive voice isn’t something you can develop overnight. As Rebecca Shambaugh says in the Harvard Business Review, it takes time to learn what to say, when to say it, how to say it, whom to say it to and how to understand the context.

Learn Your Voice

Learn Your Voice

One excellent resource to help you learn an executive voice is Heather Hudson’s article on the Zendesk blog. In the article, she recommends three key actions.

Astute Observance reminded you of how your CEO carried themself, and their ability to inspire others and keep them engaged. You wondered what made them so captivating and why people listened attentively whenever they spoke.

Get Feedback that will help you develop a sense of purpose and drive you to transform into a more strategic version of yourself. Reach out to colleagues for constructive feedback about what behaviours you could adopt or change to start thinking more strategically.

Invest in a Coach by asking your supervisor for guidance and researching organizations online to develop your executive voice further.

Voice wave

Develop Your Voice

Another excellent resource you should consider is an article by Benjamin Lakers, Four Ways to Develop a Strategic Voice.

Avoid Jargon

To reach your audience, avoid jargon when speaking to colleagues. This creates focus on the message, rather than your vocabulary.

Listen

You also learned you had to devote time to active listening in order to develop your strategic voice. To contribute to a conversation, you need to know the subject. When you decide to speak, you will address the topic, showing you’ve been listening and have something meaningful to contribute. The next time you’re in a meeting, you’ll make a conscious effort to continue to practice listening with a purpose.

your voice

Find Your Voice

Nothing worth having comes easy, so it will take time to learn what you need to know, build your confidence, and understand when to speak and when to listen. Now that you know how someone with an executive voice portrays themselves let them be your guide. It won’t be easy, but if you want your voice to be heard, you’ll have to invest the time and energy to find it. Happy hunting.

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