Others write and say, “I want to give voice to the voiceless.” If everyone wants to talk, who is going to listen? If you have something to say, it should be good and relevant for others to act on. When it comes to finding your voice, there is a mark difference between speaking up versus speaking out versus speaking over others. Speaking up is giving yourself permission to talk to others on an equal basis, to converse in such a way as to learn from each other. Speaking out is about voicing your concern about a topic which needs to be discussed between you and others. Speaking over is unproductive and is selfish in motivation. It too often results in shouting matches and is not speaking at all.
In Caroline Goyder’s book, “Find Your Voice”, she shares what giving herself permission to speaking up and out looks like over time. She says, “what I see over and over again is that when you get some practical skills deep in the muscle, through practice, your confidence opens up. Twenty years of doing the little things on a daily basis has changed my ability to speak with confidence.” I myself gained my own confidence in my ability to speak up and out because of the hours I spent conversing with others and the knowledge I gained listening and learning about my topic of interest: Entrepreneurship. Whether speaking up to friends or with an informal group of strangers or speaking out to an audience of many, you need to train yourself. Training yourself to speak over time shows how “Consistency builds new habits deep into the muscle and allows you to be instinctive when you are in front of your audience, just like when you learn to drive, you practice consistently so you can be instinctive in the test.”
She shows you start by speaking by yourself until you get comfortable with speaking, Then branch out with speaking to others in normal day-to-day conversations allows you to become comfortable then confident with speaking and then speaking out in general. I really enjoyed her “contribute don’t compete” thought. You begin speaking TO instead of AT each other, speaking and listening, and working together instead of against each other. When you speak to contribute it implies listening to one another and what each have to say so that speaking become a collaboration. However, your speaking can be negatively impacted when you “connect” with others via text or email. Goyder comments, “80 per cent of people in her study held their breath or breathed shallowly when responding to a text or email.” Imagine preparing to ask for a raise with your boss, discuss a sensitive subject with an important person, or try to connect with someone and you tense up, what do you think the results would be?
You’ve lost your ability to contribute. “You need to prepare your message and plan carefully to feel natural in what can seem like an unnatural situation,” to be at ease with speaking takes time. Gorder’s book gives valuable insights toward giving oneself permission to speak as well as practical steps to be able to speak up and out and not over others.
Written by Kevin Cullis, posted by Garth Thomas