I never felt that I was loud and proud.
Nor did I ever think I was brassy and bold.
But, I’ve been told that I am both.
I remember one day, back before I became independent, sitting at my desk while one of my bosses (I had four at this one company) sat across me giving me the evil eye. I remember being shy and afraid, but holding it in check.
I’d written an article, with his help, that was published in an industry magazine, and I’d put my name on it. Along with his, of course.
Work for Hire
“That was a work for hire,” he told me. It was too late to change it, the magazine was out and on newsstands by then.
“But, your name is on it,” I said. “I said ‘as told to’, so people know it’s your story. I just wrote it.”
He shook his head. “Your name shouldn’t be on it at all. You’re paid to do things like that. You don’t own that story.”
I kept eye contact, because he was wrong and I was right.
“You’re right,” I said. “I don’t own it. It’s clear as day that I don’t own it. I just wrote it, with your help.”
We may have argued a bit more, but the cat was out of the bag, as they say, and he got up and went away unsatisfied.
Me, forever after - until I left that job - I was known to be ‘difficult.’
Loud and Proud
There was no loud in that conversation. I was calm and respectful. But, I was also proud. And, despite his best efforts, I did not bend.
Brassy and bold is a little different. I’ve known some amazing women who brought their brassy and bold to the workplace, and made it work for them. They embraced their energy; they were show-offs of the best sort - the kind that know what they know and don’t you forget it!
We need more loud and proud. More brassy and bold. More women who don’t apologize for every little thing. More women who don’t ask permission. More women who have a voice and know how to use it.
Here are 10 Winning Ways to Use Your Voice as a Sales Tool
1. Stop apologizing. Women are very big on the, "I'm sorry," scale of taking the blame. Instead of saying I'm sorry, try acknowledging the situation by saying:
Thank you for waiting (if you're late)
I have a question (when you need to interrupt a conversation)
Thank you for listening (when you're getting something off your chest)
Isn't that interesting! But, what if.... (when you disagree with someone's point of view or statement)
There are many more ways to stop apologizing, the first being to recognize the value of your voice, your life experiences, and your input. You do not need to ask for permission to have a thought you’d like to express out loud.
2. Learn cadence. This is how you speak. It's how you breathe. When you speak well, your breath comes from your diaphragm. Your words come out spaced exactly as they should. If your cadence is off, you're breathless and less likely to be taken seriously.
3. Practice your presentation. Goes without saying, but a good way to do this is in front of the mirror as you video tape yourself. Not everyone agrees with this tactic, but I find it helps. I also find moving around and practicing in different rooms, helps.
4. Speak up. Be as loud as you need to be, remembering a softer sound is often given more attention. Not a softer voice, a softer sound. Chloe DiVita from Perceptive Presence can teach you more about this.
5. Be prepared. Know your stuff. Always admit when you are stumped, but do your best not to be stumped.
6. Don’t shout. Does this contradict #4? No. Not at all. Speaking up is part of cadence and preparation. Not shouting it just that - when you shout to be heard, you will be accused of being more than a witch. Use a natural voice. Quieter is sometimes better at getting attention than shouting.
7. Smile. This is common sense but so many times we forget that a smile can soften a harsh remark, or lighten a dark mood. It’s been shown that a smile when you talk on the phone makes the conversation better - by improving the tone of your voice.
8. Learn to listen. I expect many readers think they are good listeners. I try to be one. But, listening is more than just agreeing with whomever is talking. It’s more than nodding at appropriate moments. To be loud and proud and brassy and bold, you must learn to listen. That means giving the speaker your full attention. The better to carry on a great conversation, later on.
9. Take notes. I’ve been in situations where I was worried that if I took out a notebook and pen, my speaker would stop and be insulted that I wasn’t listening. Truth is, most speakers are flattered to see you taking notes. And, it shows you’re listening. You can’t take notes and be thinking of something else.
10. Return calls within 24 hours. This is especially important if you cannot actually start a conversation. You must let your callers know you received their message and you will act on it … howsoever you can. The key is to acknowledge the contact.
The BONUS here is simple: Be yourself. Just be a brassy, bold, loud and proud version of yourself. Bring your unique personality, but be present. Oh, and, always be personable. More on that over at the Lipsticking blog.
How does this help you win sales?
As you learn to use these winning ways more effectively, you will become the go-to person for whatever products/services you sell. People will want to work with you and buy your stuff.
They will want to do this because you will have shown yourself to be interested in them, emotionally connected to them, full of admiration and joy for them.
Everyone, including you, wants it to be about them. We live in a me, me, me world. Your goal is to offer the me, me, me folks whatever it is they desire (within your ability to provide, of course).
When you’re loud and proud, following these tips, you’re seen as confident. People are attracted to loud and proud.
When you’re brassy and bold, you’re seen as both confident and bigger than life and it rubs off on your clients. They, too, will feel bold and a bit brassy and ready to take on the world.
Yes, it’s your voice, your big idea, but in order to make it work, the story you tell better be all about making me happy.
We mentor clients through all of this at Nurturing Big Ideas.
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