Can you talk in a way that really appeals to other people AND still be using your authentic voice?
That’s a question I’ve been pondering, having been asked a challenging question in a mastermind a few days ago.
I had the privilege of speaking as a ‘guest expert’ in a super mastermind for businesswomen. We were discussing a number of tools to help turn content into a real jump-start for business impact and growth, including some proven techniques to help frame that content in words that both attract and persuade people at a deep, subconscious level.
This simply means talking to people in their language, really; using words and hooks that they would use or respond to, and framing your content through their language lens rather than your own.
Connect with your audience
Because everything we know and have proven about really effective business communication tells us that if we want to make our content magnetic, and if we want our readers and listeners to really tune in and feel like we are really talking to them, we need to sound like them. Because one of the most basic rules of human psychology is that we tend to like people who are like us.
That basic rule is why we tend to form tribes – and have done for millennia. Once upon a time, this kept us safe; now it gives us a sense of belonging, community and connection. How often do you see the meme: your vibe attracts your tribe? That’s what we’re talking about.
And part of that ‘vibe’ is in the language you use. And you can use language techniques to attract the tribe you want for your business.
Authenticity and connection are not mutually exclusive
But this doesn’t mean you have to stop using your authentic voice! The two things are not mutually exclusive – though it does take some skill and some practice to get the balance just right.
Your authentic voice is grounded in your values, your beliefs, your passions. Using your authentic voice means selling something you truly believe in, for example, or standing up for a cause you support.
Talking in your audience’s language simply means you’re framing your authentic messages in a way that is more relatable to them. It might be as simple as hearing a point someone is making rather than seeing what they’re saying.
Similarly, some people are most interested in results, for example, and will be less inspired by your content if it’s full of words about innovation or how things work. And vice versa, of course.
So, it’s absolutely not about compromising your authentic voice in any way at all. It is about recognising that even people who share our values, beliefs and passions may have different ways of processing information. And those different ways of processing mean they have different ‘hooks’ that will attract and hold their attention.
The question I was asked by one of the fabulous women in the mastermind was pertinent and thought-provoking: why not just use your own language – because surely there are enough people who use the same kind of words you do, to become your customers?
Truthfully, there may indeed be enough people who use exactly the same language, phrases or information priorities that you use naturally – and who will therefore be attracted to your words instinctively. I suspect a lot depends on how niched your business is.
But may I get down and dirty and commercial with you for a moment?
You are running a business. The key question is: how big do you want your business to be?
I know your values and passion are the heart of your business, and you’re driven by a genuine desire to serve others and make the world a better place with your products or your skills. But unless you are independently wealthy and quite happy to run your business as a not-for-profit or even a charity, I’m going to assume you need to make enough money to pay your bills. Perhaps extra money for savings and future-proofing your life and your family. Perhaps even more than that, to invest in and grow your business, to serve even more people. Or perhaps you want to make as much money as possible – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
And so, can you afford to neglect or exclude a huge chunk of your potential customer base, and still build a thriving and sustainable business? Or do you want to engage as many potential followers, customers, collaborators as possible?
Please don’t look at core communication techniques such as language matching and confuse them with your authenticity. Your authentic voice comes from your message and your overall style, while language matching simply helps you convey who you are and how you serve to as wide an audience as possible.
Authenticity matters. But so too does your impact and influence.
You need them both. And the great news is that you jolly well CAN have both!
Hope this is useful…and stay tuned for our next blog, when we’ll end this series on how to find and use your authentic voice with another interesting question – can you be authentic AND professional at the same time?
Lucy & Emma xx