Hone & Leverage Your Voice

I’m “folksy.” My family is from Arkansas, so my Southerness mixed with a little bit of this and a little bit of that comes out as folksy. I mix “proper English” with slang–even in mixed company. I tell stories to convey a message. That’s my style. I’m not “only folksy”, I also prepare my ass off! I am incredibly dedicated to my discipline. I read, I write, I think, I talk to people who are smarter than me, who have different worldviews and experiences than me. I travel, I practice. All of those, potentially anchored by my folksiness, create my unique voice. 

Unique voice is also something that is developed and honed over time. We all likely have developed early in our lives the “essence” of who we are and how we can show up in spaces we inhabit. But only when we practice using our voices in those various spaces do we get a true sense of how effective it is. Imagine a singer. Their voice may carry differently based on the height of the ceilings or the amount of echo in a cavernous space. Also, as with a singer, your unique voice is incredibly important to share with the world. We want to hear it.

Being good at what you do is a fantastic start, but it’s only part of the equation. To truly stand out, others need to recognize and value what you bring to the table. Your voice is a powerful tool, and when used skillfully, it can transform your professional journey.


Discover Your Unique Voice
Understanding what makes you unique is the first step. Reflect on your experiences, skills, and passions. What do you consistently bring to the table that others might not? Your unique perspective is a valuable asset. Embrace it and let it shape how you communicate and interact with others.


Communicate with Confidence
Confidence in your voice comes from a deep understanding of your value. This isn’t about ego; it’s about self-assurance backed by effort and achievement. Speak up in meetings, share your ideas, and don’t be afraid to express your opinions. Your voice matters, and the more you use it, the stronger it will become.


Build Strategic Relationships
Your influence grows exponentially when you build strong, multi-layered relationships. Connect with colleagues, mentors, and leaders who can offer diverse perspectives and support your growth. These relationships can open doors, provide valuable feedback, and help you navigate complex organizational landscapes.


Influence Through Understanding
Being influential isn’t just about having great ideas; it’s about understanding how to navigate your environment and relationships. Take the time to understand your organization’s culture and the people within it. This knowledge will help you position your ideas effectively and gain the support needed to bring them to life.


Turn Ideas into Action
Ideas are only as good as their implementation. Differentiate yourself by turning your ideas into actionable plans. Strategize, execute, and follow through. Your credibility is built on your ability to deliver results, not just propose concepts.


Nurture Creativity and Emotional Intelligence
Balancing analytical thinking with creativity and emotional intelligence is crucial. Tap into your creative side regularly—whether through art, nature, or other activities that inspire you. Additionally, cultivate your emotional intelligence. Understanding and managing your emotions, as well as those of others, can significantly enhance your leadership and collaboration skills.


Embrace Continuous Learning
Stay curious and open to learning. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and challenge you to grow. This includes not only those who can mentor you but also peers and even those you can mentor. Learning is a two-way street, and every interaction offers an opportunity for growth.


Practice Self-Care and Mindfulness
Your voice is strongest when you’re at your best. Incorporate self-care into your routine. Take breaks, practice mindfulness, and allow yourself moments of reflection and rejuvenation. A refreshed mind is more open to creativity and problem-solving.


Give Back and Lead by Example
Helping others is a powerful way to demonstrate your expertise and build a positive reputation. Share your knowledge, support your colleagues, and contribute to a collaborative and supportive work environment. Leading by example not only helps others but also reinforces your role as a linchpin in your organization.


Celebrate Your Uniqueness
Remember, there is only one you. Embrace your individuality and recognize that your unique contributions are your strengths. Celebrate what makes you different and let it shine through in everything you do. Your voice is your superpower—use it to make a lasting impact.


By honing and leveraging your voice, you can become an indispensable part of your organization. Believe in your value, communicate confidently, and continuously seek opportunities to learn and grow. Your voice has the power to create change and drive success. Use it wisely and boldly.


Keep using your voice, 



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DeEtta Jones & Associates (DJA) guides leaders and organizations on a journey that builds capacity, strengthens innovation, and increases organizational performance by creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment.

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