This week is undoubtedly a time of high emotions; I especially notice the difference in the tone of voice when speaking to my friends and clients in the U.S. versus overseas - I am continually revealing to you the link between your voice and your emotions to equip you for times like these.
This episode brings it back home to the basics of understanding the dance between how you’re feeling and how you use your voice consciously during volatile times.
It’s not just what you say. It’s HOW you say it.
You’ve heard that quote a million times! Think back to the amount of video or phone calls you’ve taken this year, without knowing it, you’ve tuned into and took more notice of the words you’re using, figured out how to emote how you feel without touch, and you have to project your voice to be heard more consistently.
Our ability as humans to perceive nuances in voices is more sophisticated* than we know. When we encounter someone with a poker face, we most often still distinguish whether their tone of voice is genuine - or not. Our natural capability to differentiate notes of sadness, fear, anger, compassion, interest, or embarrassment from simple voice inflections is quite astounding.
Why do I love this fact? It’s the building block to you, connecting with instinctual emotional intelligence; this allows you to facilitate conversations with significant impact and grace.
Let’s make sure you’ve got what it takes to speak with wisdom during times of high emotion. Here is this week’s #WOWkit:
EQ: INTERNAL VOICE
Your inner voice is an extension of your emotions and your body. When an emotion activates in the limbic system**, nerve signals tell the body how to physically behave - hello spike of adrenaline, shortened breathing, quick decision-making, and a trembling voice. On the other hand, if you’re feeling comfortable and confident, your shoulders are back, which gives your chest more room for air, and you naturally project your voice better.* Think about the inhale you naturally take before you prepare to shout across your place to tell folks to be quiet when you're on a Zoom meeting!
As you close out this week, focus on how deep you’re breathing, remind yourself to unclench your jaw and roll your shoulders back several times throughout the day, breathe big, give yourself time to think, then speak.
IQ: EXTERNAL VOICE
You’re emotionally pooped yet have heightened awareness around the power of your voice and what you want to say, but you’re not sure where to start.
Hone in on your values, try to keep your list between 8-9, and allow them to give you a north star and a backbone. My top core value is INTEGRITY. That single word gives me confidence and clarity when I am called to use my voice in conversations. Your values will steer your decision-making and hold you accountable. Choose them. I’m giving you access to one of the Words of Wisdom downloads from this year’s Own Your Voice Summit as a starting point!
As a leader of your household and your office - it’s essential to understand that we are in the midst of change, which means increasing your ability to facilitate honest conversations when there are tense exchanges or outbursts; your job is not to swoop in and save the day or to explain. Pivot your energy and the narrative among your group in a way that allows you to use your voice in the most impactful way - see yourself, and position yourself as the facilitator.
I’ve facilitated many groups and conversations, from women circles to Diversity Equity and Inclusion training for organizations. Three principles help me facilitate conversations during tense times.
Just Listen. Embrace empathy, be mindful of bias, don’t offer an opinion yet, just an ear.
Pen to paper. Invite the person to write down what they shared verbally, and ask them to express what the