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4 Communication Skills That Will Help You Project YOU

Posted on September 29, 2010 by Leslie Dickson

Did you see the article in The Atlantic magazine? The End of Men, the title reads. Women outnumber men in the workplace, and there are more female than male managers, according to author Hanna Rosin.

It’s a timely reaffirmation of what we’ve long taught at VoicePro about communication skills. We shouldn’t think in terms of “feminine” and “masculine” behavior. There’s a fascinating study that says male witnesses who use powerless language are seen as week, while female witnesses who use powerful language are viewed as strong. Focus on personal power instead.

If you’re a woman who feels like your ideas are not being heard, here are some strategies to help:

1. Fill your personal space.

In VoicePro’s professional development programs, we sometimes notice that women pull in, adopting a posture that makes them seem smaller. Do what powerful, assertive people do: own your space. Take a strong stance, with your shoulders down and your chest open. When you are sitting at a desk or conference table, keep that open posture, with your elbows away from your sides and your arms on the arms of your chair. Don’t clasp your hands in your lap.

2. Convey your credibility with your voice.

Are you whispering or have a tight voice? A weak “sound” will undermine your message. You want a full, rich and resonant voice to convey the strength that drives credibility. Here are two tips that can help: 1) relax the muscles in your face and throat, and 2) breathe deeply for power.

3. Light and easy does it.

In the competitive stress of the business world, nothing conveys strength like a light touch. You can take your job very seriously – just don’t take yourself too seriously. Be focused, but not strained. And don’t forget that a hearty laugh can sometimes diffuse the tension better than a strident harangue.

4. “There’s no crying in baseball.”

The popular line from the movie A League of Their Own applies in business, too. Emotion is a necessity in business – not emotionalism. Tears undermine working relationships. So does defensiveness or sulking. Show your passion, but if you feel the tears welling up due to stress – take a break to calm yourself down. You will remain in command of yourself and your situation.

Some practice, some preparation, and you’ll be hearing accolades. Choose your favorite: “You go, girl.”  Or “You’re the man.”


Image By Paul D Wade

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