A few days ago, I was scrolling through one of my favourite social media groups when a discussion caught my eye.
Someone asked a really cool question (well, I thought it was cool, but I get quite excitable about such things), and the question was this: how do you feel about the advice to ‘be authentic’ – love it or hate it? Continue reading “Can you be professional AND authentic?”
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. Continue reading “Are you talking your customers’ language?”
Please forgive me for mentioning the C-word when we’re barely halfway through November – but I’ve just watched this year’s Christmas advert from John Lewis, and it has made me cry (very unusual for me) AND got me thinking about what makes great communication (not at all unusual).
If you’re in the UK, you’ll know exactly the one I mean. Every year the JL festive ad is one of the most anticipated and talked-about moments in the run up to Christmas.
It’s always full of pathos, brilliantly produced and guaranteed to warm your heart. I have to admit that I still hanker after Monty, the beautiful little penguin that made his young owner’s life so joyous in the 2014 campaign – but this year’s ad is wonderful.
It’s a tale of random acts of kindness, and the real difference we can make to others’ lives through even the smallest of actions. It’s just what we need in a year when life has been tough in so many ways…a year when kindness became more important and valued than ever.
But what has this to do with business communication?
Well, it’s all about telling stories.
Your story underpins your authentic voice
If you’ve been reading our blogs over the last few weeks, you’ll know we’ve been guiding you through a number of steps to help you find and use your voice – which is absolutely crucial if you are to show others the value you offer them.
And if you’ve been working through these steps with us, you’ll be thinking much more about how to communicate with confidence and authenticity.
We talk a lot about storytelling here at Lucy & Emma, as one of the most powerful ways to build our confidence and authenticity. Actually, that might be a bit of an understatement; we live, breathe and sleep this stuff with every single one of our clients and colleagues, and with ourselves.
We are not the only ones, of course. Just look around you at the books, the Instagrammers, the influencers, the business coaches and so on. It’s all about the storytelling. Together we are moving into a much more authentic era, where personal stories are taking centre stage.
You know, for those of us now a certain age this feels like a huge shift. A welcome shift, but huge nonetheless. When I started my first job on a newspaper 35 years ago, one of the first pieces of advice I was given was simply this: when you come to work, you leave your life on the doorstep.
Now, on one hand I am so grateful for this early training. I think it helped me develop huge resilience that serves me well every day (especially in tough times), and helps me get up and show up whatever else is going on.
But, on the other hand, I know it has made me less tolerant in some ways; I know that in the past I have been less patient sometimes when colleagues have to prioritise their personal needs over their work.
Now I have (I hope) a more balanced approach – because I have learned that life is messy. And when we talk about keeping it real, we simply mean accepting that mess and managing it all the best we can.
(Covid has helped this too, I think, as it has forced us to blur the lines between our professional selves and our home lives.)
Some people have really championed this shift to authenticity. Senior leaders brave enough to talk about their anxiety, for example. Business people who can point to a trauma in their life as the pivot that made them choose a better life.
Social media is full of inspiration from people who have faced down and recovered from abuse, bullying, addiction, debt, loss…and so on. They share openly, and they show us that we can overcome all sorts of challenges to get the outcomes we really want.
But what if you don’t have a big trauma in your backstory?
A story just like yours?
What if your story is never going to evoke the pathos and the tears of that certain Christmas advert?
This is a subject close to my heart just now.
Regular readers will know that a few months ago, I co-authored a book called She Is Unstoppable (Vol.2). This collection of personal stories from female leaders and entrepreneurs included inspiring recoveries from extraordinary challenges – which is precisely why I nearly didn’t get involved.
I couldn’t imagine why, compared to such admirable examples of courage and determination, anyone would want to read MY story.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come up against enough prejudices throughout my life to understand a bit about what it means to live with them. However, I don’t have a tear-jerker of a backstory.
My story is about a combination of self-belief, fortuitous opportunities and bloody hard work, all of which led me to fly high and fast (in my early career in particular), doing some amazing things along the way.
But although aspects of my life have been quite extraordinary, on the whole you could only ever describe me as an average woman from a regular background.
In the end, that was precisely why I decided I would contribute my story to the book.
Because the chances are I’m just like you.
An ordinary woman with big dreams…willing to work hard and make things happen…an entrepreneur who is results-focused AND heart-led.
And if I’m right and I am just like you, I want to tell you this: you don’t need a big backstory, because whatever your story is, it truly matters to your business, your community, your customers.
It doesn’t matter if your story, like mine, is never going to rival the John Lewis Christmas ad that’s had me in tears (as usual) this last couple of days.
It’s a crucial tool in your armoury for communicating and influencing others. In fact, there is probably no better way to find and use your authentic voice than to share your own story.
And for your customers or your audience, what better way for them to get to know you, like you and trust you than to learn more about you? Sharing your story helps them understand you and relate to you. And all these are vital steps in their journey to really see your value and choose to buy from you or work with you time and time again.
So, please, know that your story is valuable and inspiring. And even if it’s not the sort of story that has your audience reaching for their tissues, you can bet your bottom dollar it will inspire and motivate them in some way.
Let your voice be heard and your story told!
In our next blog we’ll be examining a very common communication dilemma when it comes to using your authentic voice – and it’s a question that could make all the difference to the impact of your business messages.
To be sure you don’t miss it, sign up on this page to get it delivered straight to your inbox – and please do come and like our Facebook page too. We love your company.
Lucy & Emma xx
Have you ever looked high and low for something, only to find it was right there in front of you all the time?
That might be something profound like true love; it might be something ditsy like the spectacles that were sitting on top of your head all along. (Personally, I swear I spend at least a third of my waking hours hunting for the pen that hides in plain sight on my desk.)
But what about your authentic voice? How much time do you spend trying to find and capture that, while not really listening to it when it does speak to you? Continue reading “Are you listening to your authentic voice?”
Of all the tools you have to have great impact and influence others, is it possible that your voice is THE most important?
Perhaps you are trying to build a following…or converting fans into customers…or forging your progress on the career ladder.
But whether you’re a business owner or a workplace professional, others need to know and appreciate your VALUE if you are to get the results you want and deserve. For that, you need to find and use your voice. Continue reading “How do you find your authentic voice?”
Everyone loves surprises, right?
Hate to break it to you, but when it comes to demonstrating your value to others – whether that’s your boss or your customers – the answer to that is almost always a resounding NO.
In fact, surprising your audience is probably one of the hidden reasons why you don’t seem to get the results you want. And if you want to make your voice heard, get more visible, have more impact…making sure there are no surprises in your communication is going to be a game-changer for you. Continue reading “Surprise! How your content will fail if it’s not all it appears to be…”
How many times have you heard it said that the golden rule in life is to treat people as you want to be treated?
I’m guessing the answer to that is LOTS of times, and it is a lovely sentiment. Show others the values and behaviours you appreciate being shown yourself…because the chances are that means a whole lot of respect, patience and kindness going around.
And I’ve heard this golden rule applied to communication so many times in my 20-odd years of helping business leaders get better results; engage other people the way you want to be engaged.
But if you want to have maximum impact on other people, I’m here to tell you there’s an even better rule – a platinum rule, if you like. Continue reading “The golden rule for showing people who you really are? You can do even better than THAT!”
It’s not only entrepreneurs who have to think hard about their competition. If you’re a professional woman trying to progress your career path in the workplace, competition is a huge concern for you too. Continue reading “Will you stand out in the war of talent?”
Last week we looked at the rising pressure for women to speak up and speak out on issues that matter to them – and why, sometimes, we don’t know if we can.
The good news is that you don’t have to leap from a fear of speaking up to being the loudest voice in the room. This week we’re going to share our strategies to help you step a little out of your comfort zone, if that is what you want to do. Continue reading “Ways to raise your voice and be heard (when your inner critic tells you to stay silent)”
Everything we do and talk about comes back to a central point – helping women show who they really are (so it wasn’t a massive leap to our book title: Show Them Who You Really Are). Because when you transform the way you communicate your value, your contribution, your authenticity, you will transform your results. Continue reading “Why don’t we speak up when we want to?”
Is there anything more satisfying than turning the calendar over to September?
It’s the start of a new season (I know…technically we should wait for the equinox), a new school year (hello new stationery), and the feeling of a new start towards our goals (without the New Year hangover).
If the new month has re-fired up your enthusiasm for your goals, but you’re not sure where to start to give yourself the best possible chance of success, you might like to join us behind the scenes of Lucy & Emma – The Communication Coaches, as we share our own ‘reset’ process. Continue reading “3 steps to rock what’s left of 2020”