Embracing Your Voice as a Speaker
September 3, 2019
Your voice is an important part of public speaking. Your voice is how others relate to you, how they learn what you stand for and who you are. In everyday business contexts, your voice can either enhance or diminish your status. It can tell others that you are leadership material and a credible source – or that you’re not.
Because it’s your voice, you have the power to shape your own image. But also because it’s your voice, you might be insecure about it.
Insecurity about our voices is often compounded by “impostor syndrome” – that feeling we get in our gut of being unqualified to speak on a subject, and fearing being outed as frauds. Even well-known leaders like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz dealt with impostor syndrome before they found their authentic, inner voice.
How do you get over the psychological hump so you can be a more effective speaker? Here are some tips on discovering and embracing your voice.
Find what you believe in
One part of speaking is the content, the other, the delivery. Before you can embrace your delivery, you have to embrace your content. To truly embrace your content, you need to find the messages you care about deeply and focus on them. Cut out the rest.
When we believe in what we say, we eliminate the awkwardness or doubt that comes with saying things we don’t. Find your passion and lean-in.
Surround yourself with like-minded people
Before you showcase your message to those that might disagree with you, surround yourself with those that share your values, ideas, or beliefs – your tribe – and practice your message in a safe environment. Your tribe will most likely love what you have to say and ask for more, creating a positive resonance that will give you confidence to eventually express your ideas to others.
Give yourself permission to embrace yourself
At some point, you need to ignore critics – a past teacher, parent, boss, or colleague – and give yourself permission to speak with passion and authority. Be confident in drawing on your own stories, analogies, and metaphors. You are your biggest selling point, and people will find you far more credible and genuine if you speak to them with your own words, energy, and experiences.
Welcome speaking opportunities (and failure)
Ultimately, you need to practice speaking and that means taking every opportunity you can to speak on something you care about. Know that every time you fail, you’ll be one step closer to knowing what works for you and what doesn’t. Each failure takes you one step closer to success. Embrace your inner voice along the way.