your voice

Your voice is how you convince people, rather than telling everyone you are different.

A clear voice is how you let people know what you stand for. It has to be consistent.

It is now time to do something worth talking about.

If standing for something is your mantra, your voice is how you communicate this to others with emotion and becoming memorable to someone else.

This was a key finding from last weeks You Are The Media | Strategy Day (which I will re-run in August). Whilst businesses need something they believe in to help build consistency, audience and alignment with what they do, they also need something that connects them to someone else. This is where developing a voice takes centre stage.

find your nicheFrom chatting to Margaret Magnarelli, Managing Editor and Head of Content, at Monster.com, their philosophy is to bring humanity to the whole job search process.

For example they wouldn’t take a lonely walk down the path of writing about redundancy but highlight every path that relates to the candidate journey.

Trevor Young, from Zoetic, joined us from Australia and introduced a framework built around V.I.T.A.L (visibility, influence, trust, advocacy and leadership). Again, it all stems from having a belief, sharing it and building an audience from a central place that you have control to build authority. In Trevor’s words those companies who leverage, “will be those that are in the best position to thrive in tomorrow’s increasingly complex, noisy and ever-changing world.” You can read a bit more about these five pillars from Trevor, if you click here.

During the Strategy Day, there was a common ground for everyone to adopt, embrace and action. People to recognise they need to have something to say that relates back to something they believe in. Once this is unlocked, then a whole new landscape takes shape (we all spent time on recognising how the voice can take shape). This is the ability to build an audience and create better customers. In the words of author Neil Gaiman, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.”

 

How Voice Is Going To Dominate In The Next Month Or So

The importance of voice is going to start to ramp up a gear in the UK election as we prepare for polling day on 8th June.

The conservatives are looking at areas of stability, the economy and the Brexit plan. Labour have an eye on equality and childcare. The Liberal Democrats have anti-Brexit fixed and housing benefits. UKIP have their sights on exclusion in any form, shape and colour. Whilst, I would never take a walk down a political slant the point I am trying to make is that having a strong voice, enables people to know what side of the road you are on.

When someone has a clear message that has a real purpose, their voice has to be consistent. As I highlighted in the first article after Brexit, “If you don’t understand your audience, you will never have the ability to influence and take the lead.”

With the short political campaign that we are now about to step into, having a concise and clear voice that is matter of fact and to the point is more important than ever.

 

Being More Than An Opinion

Having a voice that relates to what you stand for, becomes the catalyst to change and persuade others. It is not about someone shouting louder because they have more Twitter followers, but being able to deliver on a consistent viewpoint.

We are now immersed in a world where someone saying, “I believe…’ is a regarded as a trading currency of trust. An empty voice that is not backed up, just adds to the confusion, when people and businesses are looking to create a false sense of attention, but who do we believe anymore? To rely on a constant tirade of opinion is like walking the tightrope, to deliver the facts and experience provides the safety net.

To create a voice that is immersed in what you believe in and stand for, has to be supported by real life experiences and the facts. What you create becomes specific to you and how a distinct voice is created. A fact is used to illustrate a point and is then brought to life via an experience to validate an argument (click here to have a read of an example for what I mean).

 

Being Rubbish

The voice that you create reminds me of the public speaking contests I entered when I was at college with a group of friends. They were very bad.

I can remember they were topics that I had no interest in, which were ‘should schools wear a uniform?’ and ‘should all students be made to do volunteer work?’ If you don’t believe in something, you might as well copy it from somewhere else and hand it to be marked on a sheet of paper. I can remember I rehearsed trying to get the points that needed to be made with force but all I was doing was reading something parrot fashion. Whilst I shouted and probably punched the air and waved my arms about, my voice was just a tiny squeak that had no meaning. At the end I just sounded like everyone else, just louder. Lets just say that that extra curriculum college activity was very short lived.

The point I am trying to make is that when you believe in something, you don’t need a piece of paper as a prompt, you learn to communicate with conviction and mean what you say. If you sound like every other business and deliver what you think others should hear/read/watch (hello 75% of LinkedIn posts), all you become is the Ed Sheeran copycat act on Britain’s Got Talent.

 

Getting Your Voice Into Shape

We need to pay attention to the voice that we share and communicate. If your world revolves around a conveyor belt of retweets, sharing and liking, then the ability to carve a clear voice becomes a greater challenge than originally anticipated.

Here are some pointers to carve a clear voice that you have ownership of that lets people know your purpose.


  • to the point. If you can use less than 140 characters, that’s better than thinking you have to use the full quota. If you can discover and interpret a different story to the rest of your marketplace that gets straight to the heart of the matter (and always a starting point), you can redefine a category.

 

  • stay clear of using adjectives. An adjective describes what you do. It comes back to the product/service magnet that always pulls people back to beating their chests where what they do is seen as the point of differentiation. These are part and parcel of your week when looking at what someone else says about themselves ie. we are ambitious/creative/courageous/adaptable/fun/edgy. An alternative is to recognise the value that you provide not the product you represent ie. change, community, enterprise, togetherness.

 

  • find your side and then stick to it. It just becomes confusing when you chop and change from one tact to the other. If you are a personal trainer and you started the year with a focus on mental well being, why end the year dedicated to pure muscle building? You have to find the smallest eye of the needle with the longest thread. By this I mean the fewest words (I believe in one word) that describe your overall viewpoint. It is difficult to start with, but when you understand the value you provide for others, why waiver into places that people don’t recognise your strengths. Your voice can help others.

 

  • just because it’s trending doesn’t mean you have to jump on the gravy train. From seeing the roof explode with #pepsi last month, to more of #brexit this year, just because something is topical, doesn’t mean it has to resonate with you and your business. When the moment comes that fits your approach and can complement your voice, then you have a right to make a connection even more viable.

 

  • clichés and other ‘aren’t I/we noble’ efforts. No one ever carved a clear voice that resonated with others, that centred on telling others about how they are winning customers or striving to become the next David Brent on LinkedIn (see below).

your voice

  • the strive for a cause, that you can explore, but recognise that you might never make the top of the mountain. Over time you become confident with the role that you provide to your audience, in terms of providing insight. In a recent interview with BuzzSumo founder, Steve Rayson on Mark Schaefer’s {grow}, “You need to produce regular content that is helpful to your audience. However, to produce unique and valuable content you need to be an expert or very knowledgeable. Otherwise it is difficult for you to add value.”

Lets Round Up

When it comes to having a voice, everything is centred on communicating the intentions of what you believe in and how that aligns to what you do. This allows others to match that voice with an approach.

Over time people recognise the value you bring to a marketplace and you build your story through the ideas, themes and experiences you curate and communicate. Do this consistently, this is how you differentiate your business.

Do something worth talking about. You have the insight, knowledge and experiences that others can benefit from and need. You have outlets to spread from that you didn’t have before and privileged to have. Time to put it out there.

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