Words can build or break – choose your words wisely

In the trade hall attached to a conference I was speaking at there was a caricaturist offering free caricatures for conference participants and attendees. As I sat down, I jokingly said, “Just capture the one chin, won’t you?” Without changes to his posture, or missing a breath or a beat, he responded in a calm and kind tone, “No need to point out what others don’t see.”

What a gift and what wise words!

The inner voice and the spoken word of the self-leader is confident, positive, clear and calm. Mostly.

Your values will drive how you speak about yourself to yourself and others, and how you speak with others. Negative self-talk, if not addressed, can lead to actions that you may later regret such as missing opportunities, breaking relationships, missing valuable feedback. While it’s natural to default to the negative, all efforts and focus to shift to positive self-talk will lead to reduced negative physical, mental and emotional impacts.

Positive self-talk will lead to more success. It will also spark your confidence to speak up, to ask for what you want, and to go for the opportunities others might not feel courageous enough to go for;  even when it feels awkward, uncomfortable or risky to do so. 

Remember, courage is not about the absence of fear, it’s acting despite the presence of fear!

As a leader your people want to hear from you, be it in direction, decision or endorsement. Your leadership voice matters, your interpersonal communication skills matter. Others want and need to hear from you, they rely on your input to know what’s going on, they look to you for direction and your ideas for improving processes, problem solving and seizing opportunities.

Clear, concise and, correct are given expectations when communicating but what others really want are connection, character, curiosity and calm. These help also want to people feel safe. Safe employees will be loyal and productive employees. Continuously improving your interpersonal communication skills is an investment that bears exponential returns.

With positive self-talk and exceptional interpersonal communication skills, you’ll have the confidence and courage to speak up. You’ll find it easier to be influential in those moments when it matters.

Add in your exceptional awareness and emotional intelligence and you’ll also have the discernment to know when:

  • not to speak up,
  • to let the situation be or 
  • allow others to interfere

… and if these will make the situation better or worse. 

Copyright Sally Foley-Lewis

Three ways you can amplify your voice as a strong self-leader is to learn more about self-talk, continuously improve your interpersonal communication skills, and have the courage to speak up!

As New York Times best selling author, Austin Kleon says, “you can’t find your voice if you don’t use it.”

Speaker friend and vocal coach, Lisa Lockland-Bell and I caught up to talk about voice and self-leadership. One of the key take-aways Lisa shared was how important it is to work on your voice (to match your profile) as it can help break any unconscious bia that might be at the table. Lisa says, “stop listening to voice! Start feeling your voice.”

You can check out the full empowering chat here.


How does your voice help your profile?