Women In The Workplace: Find Your Power In Your Business Voice

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Have you ever attended a virtual meeting where you couldn’t get a word in? Have you ever felt as though people weren’t taking you seriously as you gave a presentation or pitch? It’s irritating and discouraging to feel as though your voice isn’t being heard at work.

As a woman, speaking up at work can be especially challenging. It’s easy to feel as if you can’t get a word in or that your thoughts and feelings aren’t taken seriously. Unfortunately, these concerns are not unfounded, as research shows that, contrary to popular belief, women speak less in the workplace than men.

This issue is even more prevalent with the rise of the digital workplace due to COVID-19, where many business interactions are conducted via virtual meetings or phone calls. Without the ability to use social cues such as facial expressions or body language, it’s hard to jump into an ongoing conversation without feeling like you are interrupting or being rude. 

In order to get people listening, you have to get over the, “I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes” mindset. You are important. What you have to say is important. By establishing your business voice, you’ll be able to attract attention, display confidence, and be heard more clearly. 

But what if you don’t like the sound of your voice? In all honesty, many people don’t like the way that they sound. The good news is that creating a strong business voice is a skill, and skills can be developed.

Use these methods to help you establish a strong and powerful voice to help you feel more confidence in the workplace.

Start by Recording Yourself

The first step toward improving your voice quality is to record yourself speaking. While this may make you feel uncomfortable, remember that you are not alone. Many people hate hearing themselves talk, but it is the only way to properly evaluate yourself. There’s a chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised! You don’t sound as bad as you think you do.

Look for a screenplay, script, or speech you can recite and record. Make a list of what you like and don’t like about your voice by listening to the recording again.

Work on Your Breathing Techniques

Every speech begins with a breath, therefore if you want to improve the sound of your voice, start by working on your breathing techniques. . Make sure you’re breathing slowly and steadily from your diaphragm. This will relieve tension on your voice and enable you to speak in a richer, more consistent tone.

Read aloud a paragraph with a combination of lengthy and short sentences to practice. As you read each sentence, take a deep breath and softly exhale. Don’t feel obligated to totally fill your lungs; simply inhale as much air as you need to breathe comfortably and easily without sounding out of breath. 

Slow Down Your Speech

Nervousness is natural before a big presentation or an important sales pitch. Your speech tends to speed up when you’re anxious. However, this will make you sound less confident and eager, and the audience will find it more difficult to understand you.

Slowing down your speech allows you to take deeper breaths, speak more clearly, and think more carefully about what you’re trying to express. Slowing down should not appear tedious or drawn out; rather, slow down just enough to deliver a clear and confident speech.

Change Your Body Language

Your voice doesn’t only come from your throat; it comes from every part of your body. Changing your body language can make a difference in the tone of your voice, making you sound — and feel — more confident.

Poor posture, such as slouching, can strain your throat muscles, making it difficult to breathe through your diaphragm. This might make you sound stiff and forceful, as well as diminish your voice endurance. Sit up straight, engage your core, and relax your shoulders to correct posture-related vocal difficulties.

The techniques above can help you sound more clear and confident, but if you’re being ignored or discriminated against on a regular basis, remember that you’re worth more. You don’t have to work in toxic environments or feel ignored. There are organizations and teams that will value you and your opinion, and finding one of them may be the best option for you professionally and personally.

If you want to learn more about how to improve your voice, take a look at the infographic below from Smith.ai.

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