There are times when it becomes obvious you must speak. The message comes from many different directions and it becomes blatantly obvious that it’s time. I’ve had that experience in several different areas recently. It’s time to share the message I’ve been given. I know I’m not alone.
I shared this story with a friend last week:
A networking acquaintance shared their experience of being silenced in their work role. I was recounting the cost of that silence. The person had lost her confidence, her ability to make an impact, her motivation and had gained 100 pounds over four years – with the health issues that can come with those additional pounds.
The response: momentary silence on the other end of the phone and then these words, “That’s me!” I was taken aback for a moment. I know this person doesn’t have 100 pounds to lose. She’s a competent professional with a great reputation. She supports others and has a powerful voice. I was stunned.
But she shared that there was a time that she wasn’t able to make the impact in her work role that she desired. It had cost her confidence, motivation and weight gain. The weight gain wasn’t as severe, but she had gained considerable pounds as she struggled.
In reflecting on these two stories, as well as the #MeToo movement and the massive number of women who were impacted by the crimes of Larry Nasser, I have to ask, “Where do you need to stand out?” What is the message you are called to share with others? How do you need to use your voice?
Each of us has an important role to play in the world. Our voice is part of that role. Identifying the role and the message we carry is critical to using our voice most effectively. We each have a perspective that comes from our strengths and our life experience that we are called to contribute to the world.
In reflecting, I’ve discovered the following insights about using our voices most effectively:
- Own Your Message – Each of us has a sweet spot where our strengths, our passions, and our life experiences come together. In that space is the place you can make the biggest impact in the world. When you speak your message you're more focused. Youspeak with authority.
- Leverage Your Strengths – Spread your message in the way that works best for you, while also reaching your audience. Are you most comfortable writing your message or speaking it? Would you rather record a video or create a poster? In all of these situations, your message is central. Leverage your strengths, whether they be connecting people, making a compelling argument or creating the space for discussion to spread the message. Using your strengths effectively amplifies your voice.
- Know Your Audience – Who needs to hear what you have to say? Where can you make the biggest impact by sharing the message? Who will listen to your voice? Where can you speak that you will be heard? Rachael Denhollander went to the Indianapolis newspaper with her allegations against Larry Nassar. That was the place her accusations were heard and the message began to spread. Thanks to her message, many other young women were heard and a criminal has been stopped. Thanks to her using her voice, her experience as a lawyer, and her strengths, no more young women will be violated by this man.
I hope your message isn’t this traumatizing or difficult to share. I hope your message is one of joy and encouragement. Regardless of the message you have to share, you need to use your voice. You need to have clarity on the message (that may only come with speaking it). You need to leverage your strengths to share it. You need to understand your audience and how best to approach them, the best method to communicate and the best time to speak to them.
When you use these factors, you will stand out. When you own your voice, you can change the world. People need to hear the message you’ve been given! It’s time to share!
If you’re interested in learning more about owning and using your voice to make an impact, I’m presenting a webinar in the “Tell It Like It Is Thursday” series for Women in Economic and Leadership Development on Thursday, February 22 at noon EST. You can register here. Register quickly! Deadline for registration without late fees is Thursday, February 8! I’d love to have you join me.