Your authentic voice is key to building trust and rapport with clients as a coach or consultant. But what does it mean to have an authentic voice, and how can you find yours? Keep reading to learn more.
In today’s noisy world, it’s more important than ever to have a strong, clear voice that shines through in everything you do. When you can be yourself and speak from a place of authenticity, people are more likely to listen to and engage with what you’re saying.
Your authentic voice results from being true to who you are as an individual and a professional. It’s the way you share your unique perspective on the world, and it’s something that should come naturally to you.
The problem is that many of us have been socialized to suppress our authentic voices to fit in or be “professional.” This can leave us feeling like we’re not really sure who we are or what we want to say.
- Benefits of sharing your authentic voice in business
- How to find your authentic voice
- 1. Take some time for introspection and take stock of your life experiences
- 2. Practise using your own voice and communicating your values
- 3. Practice speaking up for yourself in personal and professional situations.
- 4. Develop your writing voice
- 5. Get comfortable with being vulnerable
- 6. Let go of perfectionism
- 7. Don’t compare yourself to others.
- 8. Seek out supportive people and environments
- Authentic Voice FAQ
- Final thoughts – Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to show your personality
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Benefits of sharing your authentic voice in business
It may not be obvious initially, but having an authentic voice is essential for winning in business.
Most coaches, consultants, and service professionals building lifestyle businesses only need a small number of ongoing clients to generate recurring income, do good work, and live a comfortable lifestyle.
If that sounds like you, you’re not playing the same game as bigger operators in your industry.
Besides, it’s virtually impossible to play the same advertising game as bigger brands with bigger pockets when you’re a small operator.
Where you can win is by being different, and that starts with sharing your unique voice.
If you’re always putting on a persona or trying to be someone you’re not, people will see right through it, and they won’t trust you. But when you’re being real and transparent, people are more likely to connect with you on a deeper level and want to work with you.
Here are a few specific benefits of sharing your authentic voice in business:
Builds trust and credibility – When you’re open and honest about who you are and what you can and cannot deliver, people are more likely to trust you. This is especially important if you’re in a coaching or consulting role, where building trust is essential to success.
Allows you to stand out – In today’s noisy world, it can be hard to get noticed. But when you have a strong, clear voice that speaks from a place of authenticity, you’re more likely to cut through the noise and be heard. I remember when Gary Vaynerchuck, aka. Gary Vee first started blowing up on social media. At the time, very few people were doing what he was doing – being completely open and transparent about their views online. But because he was authentic and had a unique perspective and identity, he quickly gained a following of passionate fans. He also caused a bit of a stir online due to his use of profanity, which worked in his favor because it helped him stand out even more.
Helps you attract your ideal clients – When you’re speaking from your authentic voice, you’re more likely to attract people who are aligned with your values and who will appreciate your unique perspective. Remember that you’re not for everyone, and that’s a good thing!
Saves you time and energy – Trying to be someone you’re not is exhausting. When you allow yourself to be authentic, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy that you can put towards other things.
Makes marketing easier – Marketing is all about connecting with the right people and sharing your message in a way that resonates with them. When you clearly understand who you are and what you stand for, it becomes much easier to create effective marketing campaigns that speak to your ideal clients.
Encourages people to buy from you – When people feel like they know, like, and trust you, they’re more likely to do business with you. Especially if you’re somebody who comes from a place of service, and doing quality work is important to you.
People buy from personal brands – In the following video, Daniel Priestley, serial entrepreneur and author of Key Person of Influence (one of my fave business books of all time), explains why personal brands are more powerful than faceless brands.
Related: 29 ways to get more clients as a coach or consultant
How to find your authentic voice
If you’re feeling disconnected from your authentic voice, don’t worry – it’s not gone forever. Here are some tips for finding it:
1. Take some time for introspection and take stock of your life experiences
Grab a pen and paper, and maybe your fave beverage. Take a seat in a tranquil place, like outside in nature. It can be easy to forget the power of good old-fashioned handwriting in this digital age.
Reflect on these questions and write down your answers:
What are your values?
What do you believe in?
What makes you unique?
What have been your most memorable life experiences – positive and negative?
Allow yourself to brainstorm and write down as many life experiences as possible – both positive and negative. Include major accomplishments, key life lessons, and defining moments that have shaped who you are today.
Your answers to these questions will give you some clues about what’s important to you and what you stand for. From there, you can start to get a sense of what your authentic voice sounds like.
Here’s the thing – only you can be the expert at being you, and all your lived experiences have shaped who you are today. So, don’t be afraid to own your story and share it with the world.
For a bit of inspiration and to understand why it’s critical to identify (and communicate) what motivates you, watch this short video where Simon Sinek shares his “golden circle” concept and how all great leaders inspire action.
If you’re having trouble answering these questions, try talking to a close friend or family member who knows you well. They may be able to give you some insight into what makes you tick.
2. Practise using your own voice and communicating your values
Once you have a better sense of your values and beliefs, start thinking about how you can infuse them into your work.
This could be anything from the way you interact with clients to the type of content you produce.
By aligning your work with your values, you’ll feel more connected to what you’re doing – and your authentic voice will shine through.
Here’s an example of Chris Do, founder of The Futur, clearly communicating a personal value on social media (can you guess what it is?):
3. Practice speaking up for yourself in personal and professional situations.
If there’s something you believe in strongly, don’t be afraid to stand up for it (in a respectful way, of course).
The more frequently you express yourself, the easier it will be to show your unique voice.
4. Develop your writing voice
To clarify your writing voice, start by taking some time to read over your past work.
How does it make you feel?
Do the words reflect your values?
Does it sound like something you would actually say out loud?
If not, don’t worry – you can always revise and edit until it feels more authentic.
Start writing – one blog post or social media post at a time
Don’t have any past writing to look at? That’s okay too.
Start by brainstorming a list of topics you feel passionate or curious about. Then, simply start writing – the more you do it, the easier it will become to find your authentic voice on paper (or screen).
Good writers will tell you that good writing comes from good thinking and a lot of practice. There’s no special power or formula for success, so just keep at it and trust that your authentic voice will come through.
Twitter has been a fantastic place for some creators to practice writing and find their voice (and their audience).
Blogging and Twitter may or may not work for you. The key is to test different formats and different channels to find what resonates best.
Not a fan of writing? Why not try podcasting? (that works well for me, and I enjoy building my network through interviewing inspiring guests).
Identify your voice through the work of others
You can also look at the writing of your favorite authors, bloggers, and social media accounts. Pay attention to particular phrases and words that resonate with you, then make a list of these for reference.
When you’re ready to start writing, refer to this list and see if you can incorporate some of these words and phrases into your work.
It’s also worth noting down words and phrases you don’t like so you can avoid them in your writing. After all, part of finding your voice is also identifying the words and phrases that don’t feel like you.
Pay attention to how you speak
Another thing that you can do is record yourself speaking and take note of specific phrases that you use often.
Do you have any verbal tics or favorite words? Do you speak quickly or slowly? What’s your tone like – serious or lighthearted?
You can use these characteristics to inform your written voice and make it sound more like how you speak in real life.
5. Get comfortable with being vulnerable
So that you can see what’s possible when we create and share from the space of vulnerability, below is a video of one singer’s audition on America’s Got Talent. I promise it’ll be a 7-min experience you won’t likely forget.
So why is Nightbirde’s AGT audition video so powerful?
Simply put, it demonstrates that we need to be open and honest about who we are, our challenges, and what we’re going through to connect with others. This can be scary, but it’s worth it.
When you’re vulnerable, people are more likely to trust and connect with you. And when you’re authentically yourself, people are likelier to listen to what you have to say.
So don’t be afraid to show your true colors – the world needs your unique perspective.
How much you share is up to you, but try to be open about your thoughts and feelings in both your personal and professional life. If you constantly wear a mask because you fear what others will think of you, it’ll be hard to let your authentic voice shine through.
That will mean you’ll attract people who don’t really know you, and that’s not ideal in either personal or professional relationships.
In the following video, social scientist Dr. Brene Brown reminds us of the importance of knowing your worth and where you belong.
6. Let go of perfectionism
One of the biggest things holding people back from expressing their authentic voices is the need to be perfect. We live in a society that tells us we have to be “polished” and “put together” at all times, but that’s just not realistic (or sustainable).
Instead of striving for perfection, focus on being genuine. Your clients and audience will appreciate you for it.
One mindset that has worked for me in overcoming imposter syndrome and developing my voice, was one that I learned from Glen Carlson (Daniel Priestley’s co-founder at Dent):
Here’s Daniel explaining the power of this mindset and why it’s essential for building an audience that resonates with your voice:
7. Don’t compare yourself to others.
We all have our own unique voices, so there’s no need to try and imitate someone else.
Just focus on being the best version of yourself, and be confident in expressing your truth and ideas. Your passions, opinions, and stories matter, so don’t be afraid to share them with the world.
The rest will fall into place.
8. Seek out supportive people and environments
You’re more likely to find your authentic voice if you surround yourself with people who share your values. These could be friends, family members, or colleagues.
You might also want to seek out online communities of like-minded individuals. This is a great way to connect with people worldwide who can support and inspire you.
Authentic Voice FAQ
How can you outsource your authentic voice to other writers?
You may want to consider outsourcing your content to other writers at some point in your business. This can free up your time to focus on running your business and help ensure that your content is high quality.
When outsourcing your content, it’s important to ensure that the writers you work with understand your brand voice and can write in a way that is true to your authentic voice.
To do this, you’ll need to provide them with clear guidelines and examples of your writing style. You should also give them license to be creative and add their own flare within the parameters that you’ve set.
This won’t work for everyone, but if you’re comfortable with it, outsourcing can be a great way to maintain your authentic voice while still getting the help you need to keep your business running smoothly. It’s ok for your brand voice to evolve too.
What if you’re afraid of expressing your authentic voice?
Many people fear expressing their authentic voices because they worry about what others will think. But it’s important to remember that not everyone will agree with you, and that’s OK!
I also recommend you watch this powerful talk from social scientist Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability.
Final thoughts – Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to show your personality
The journey to finding your authentic voice can be long, and there will be ups and downs along the way.
The most important thing is to stick with it and be patient with yourself. Trust that you will find your voice in due time, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
By taking some time for introspection, connecting your work with your values, practicing speaking up for yourself, talking and communicating as a real person, and avoiding comparison traps, you can start letting your unique perspective shine through.
This will attract clients who resonate with what you have to say and establish yourself as an engaging leader in your field.
Most importantly, you’ll be doing work that feels good because it’s a true expression of who you are.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not; don’t be afraid to let your unique personality shine through in your work.
The world needs more people like you, so embrace what makes you special and share it with the world.
(Featured blog post image Photo by Puwadon Sang-ngern)