In a world where screen time is rapidly replacing you-me time, the need for transparent human-to-human connections has never been greater. But expressing our honest feelings is not always easy.
We’ve probably all experienced times when we don’t feel comfortable speaking up, sharing what’s really going on for us. For one reason or another, we find ourselves stifling our voice and letting those around us lead the conversation.
Speak out or get boxed in
Whether we like it or not, how we use (or fail to use) our voice determines how others experience us – our colleagues and leaders interpret our personality and 'fit' through what we say, or don’t say.
So if our voice is the lens through which the value we bring to an organisation is judged, when we don’t use it, when we stay silent instead of contributing, people will interpret this in any number of negative ways: maybe we simply don’t care; maybe our priorities lie elsewhere; maybe we don’t have the courage to stand up for our convictions.
What we’re not doing is leading by example. Or at least by a very good example. By inhibiting our own voice we're subliminally telling others that they should follow suit, unwittingly creating a culture where people talk about others people, but not to them.
Use it or lose it
But getting our voice heard is not just about how others perceive us. Suppressing our voice and playing small, whether out of fear of being shot down or rocking the boat, will only serve to make us invisible, knocking our confidence and self-worth.
What’s the impact? Instead of living a purposeful life — instead of being agents of change — we become victims, at the mercy of others.
So how can you ensure your voice is ready and waiting when it's needed?
In October 2017, actor Alyssa Milano posted on social media: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
Within days, millions of ordinary people — as well as celebrities and public figures — were empowered to speak out. And from that act of speaking out a movement was born, one that has now spawned to become a rallying cry against sexual harassment.
It pulled focus onto the behaviour of some of the world’s most powerful men, from Hollywood to politics, and with it changing society and our conversations around sexual harassment for good.
So if we think about our voice, there is no better demonstration of the power of speaking out and speaking up than #MeToo.
Of the many important lessons the #MeToo movement has taught us, one is the authority of our voice when we let it be heard. Whether we are seeking justice, or even simply thinking about our place within our organisations, we should never underestimate it.
And more often than not, when we open up and express our thoughts we realise that instead of being an island, others share our views, opinions, and experiences.
Breakfast of Change
Our next Breakfast of Change, this Thursday, is all about exploring how to uncover our voice, build confidence, and effect change. Come join us to explore how...
Final tickets are available here.