Updated: May 5
This week the theme has been ‘Having a voice’. I had some great quotes on this theme to choose from which have been great to get people thinking about how they struggle to find their voice when they know it is important either in certain situations or with certain people.
Having a voice means being able to speak about your mission, vision and values.
It is being able to communicate verbally what you think, what you feel and what you want to happen.
Not having your own voice can be incredibly frustrating and for some people it is a cause of stress when they are not able to verbalise what is in their head.
“When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
This isn’t always about the ability to be able to say what you want to say. Sometimes it is being given the space to be able to say it.
Having a conversation or an interaction with someone should mean that all parties are given the opportunity and space to be able to say what they want to say.
Listen to understand, not to respond.
Freedom of speech is normally associated with a Human Rights issue, but the freedom to say what we think, feel and what we want can sometimes be difficult depending on who we are speaking with.
Assertiveness is a learned and practiced behaviour. It is perfectly normal to have certain situations where we find it more difficult to be assertive. The important thing is that we work on learn how to adopt assertive behaviour in this situation.
The more we can leave a conversation having listened to understand as well as voicing our thoughts, and feeling like we have been listened to, the more we feel in control.
So how can we be more assertive with expressing our voice?
Words. Use words that express clearly express what you want to say. Use strong and powerful language to strengthen what you are saying
Tone and Pace. Use an expressional tone and slow the pace to ensure that you are clear. Use an appropriate level of volume.
Body Language. The most important element. Ensure that your body language tells the same story that you are telling verbally and that it doesn’t undermine what you are saying. Think about how you are sitting/standing and how you are using your hands.
Assertive behaviour is not a character. We behave in an assertive way so it is common for people to have a certain person or situation when they find it more difficult.
The important thing is to look at the way you successfully behave this way and practice mirroring the behaviour as much as possible. It does take practice but it is possible.
Practice having these conversations with ‘confidence’ and the being confident will come.
At the end of any interaction all parties should be left feeling ok. Even when the parties are not in agreement they should still feel that they have been listened to and had an opportunity to speak.
If one of the parties does not feel this way then it can lead to frustration, not about the original content of the conversation but how they feel about not being heard.
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