Find Your Voice

By: Chris Voysey

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The way we communicate is critical to developing an image in the workplace today. It is amazing how many people spend many hours and lots of money trying to make themselves look good, but they totally ignore the importance of how they come across when they communicate.

Anthony Robins put it well when he said:

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves, determines the quality of our lives”

That word ‘determines’ is a strong one – it is saying if we would like to have a really good quality life (and who wouldn’t?) we need to take our communicating efforts seriously.

So, what does this mean for the entrepreneur and SME owner? It means that we need to put as much energy and purpose into communicating ourselves as we might into communicating our product or service brand.

From the perspective of communication, you must see yourself as a brand as much as your product or service is a brand. You are ‘YOU (Pty) Ltd’ – your own PR company, advertising agency and promotions hot-shop.

As with any self-development, it starts with awareness – how do I come across, do I connect well with people, do I listen empathically, do I use my voice persuasively to tell others about what I have to offer, do I ask questions in an open and enquiring way to find out more about what my customer actually wants (as opposed to deciding what he/she should want!) and am I communicating with the purpose of building a relationship?

Each one of us has a unique way of communicating – the important thing is to see whether that way is achieving the goals you want; the most important goal should be to connect with another human being and develop a personal relationship with him or her – that is the starting point of CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

You could ask yourself the question relating to the three ‘C’s – am I clear, concise and connecting?

Do people understand me when I talk or do they spend their time asking me to repeat myself? When they ask for an explanation do they get a long-winded monologue or an interesting and concise overview of what I have to offer (like your 30-second elevator speech)? Do they get the feeling that I really care about solving their needs or am I just there to get some money out of them?

Your voice is a marvelous resource – it’s a tool, a valuable aid to developing your own personal brand. The way you personally communicate and come across is as important as your understanding of a balance sheet.

In fact, possibly more important; you can always find someone who’s really good at numbers to give your balance sheet some personality, but the personality you portray to your client, as you develop personal relationships, is entirely up to you.

We live in a country with 11 different official languages (and a few more unofficial ones), different ethnic groups, various religions, a whole pot pouri of cultures, upbringings, and ways of expressing ourselves. Sometimes it seems a miracle that we can communicate at all!

It is really important that we speak with the purpose of being understood – in other words, with clarity, enough volume to be heard, clearly pronouncing words that can be confusing and using our voices to be entertaining and interesting.

Dr. Thomas Oosthuizen in his book The BRAND Book talks about a brand being a ‘basketfful of benefits’. It is essential that we ask ourselves what is in our basket when it comes to communicating ourselves and our personal brand to others.

The way we express ourselves strengthens the development of our brand in the marketplace and, as a result, strengthens the brand of your product or service that you offer to the marketplace.

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Chris VoyseyAfter time in the theatre as an actor and then 30 years in advertising as a creative director and heading a large marketing division, Chris Voysey brings a unique perspective to the art of persuasive communication. Like him on Facebook, connect via LinkedIn and follow @ChrisVoysey on Twitter.