Owning Your Voice


Owning Your Voice

At Forté we have the opportunity to coach brilliant women with powerful ideas to contribute. We know - and history shows - when women lead and use their voice, we all gain. At times, however, women's voices aren’t being heard. We equivocate, apologize, or hold back altogether, but with the right tools and support, every woman can truly own her voice - in the boardroom and beyond.

Here are verbal and non-verbal strategies to project confidence and own the room. 


Choose your Words Carefully


1. Say what you mean - don't couch it in a question. 

Use simple declarative sentences, such as "Let's talk about the fourth quarter plan” rather than making the statement in the form of a question, as in "Would it be useful to talk about the fourth quarter plan?”

2. Do not apologize when there is no fault.

Example, when the conference line drops. Data shows that women and girls are socialized to apologize more. Women tend to have more of a knee jerk reaction to apologize when they have done nothing wrong. 

3. Don't make justifications or diminishing comments.

Avoid prefacing a statement with a diminishing comment, (e.g., “I don’t have much experience with this, but…”) Share what you know. You have knowledge, so come across as knowledgeable. 


Non Verbal Communication Speaks Volumes

1. Project your voice.  

A powerful voice commands attention and conveys confidence. Think of projecting your voice like throwing a ball - it should land on the shoulders of the person farthest away from you.  

2. Avoid uptalk.  

(Think Kardashians). In addition to making declarative statements, make sure your statements don’t sound like questions by having your voice go down at the end of the sentence rather than up.

3. Deliver “One Thought to One Person."   

Nervous speakers tend to scan the room, use filler words (like “um”) or ramble. The “One Thought, One Person,” technique helps speakers convey confidence and control through stronger eye contact and pausing. How it works: deliver one thought looking at one person, pause, and then deliver another thought looking at another person. This creates stronger connections and shows control.

4. Power Pose In Your Chair.    

Practice sitting in your chair in a confident and relaxed way - it probably looks comfortable, yet engaged. Doing things like holding your head high, pulling your shoulders back, placing your hands above the table and smiling not only exude confidence and power, they make you feel more confident and powerful on the inside. Try it!


Interested to learn more?

Through coaching and workshops, Forté helps empower women to own and hone their inherent communications skills in ways that command attention, show confidence and move people to action. 




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Sophia Mavrides