How she got promoted
She was well educated, she had a degree in law though she wasn’t using it. The director she reported to conceded she was very good at what she did, however to move to the next level she needed to improve her communication skills. Lorna never really thought about the way she spoke. She had gotten this far; she was a mid-level professional making decent money and doing well in her role. However, her director felt she needed to up level her personal presentation as it related to the way she communicated. So, the company engaged Influential Voice, a company that helps professionals to communicate in the way they want to be perceived.
Initially, Lorna did not quite understand why she was asked to work with this company until she heard the playback of her first conversation with the coach that had just been assigned to her. The sound of her own voice brought tears to her eyes, she could not believe the way she expressed herself. In her own words she came across rough, street like, rather than professional. She never knew. Her coach was able to dissect why she sounded so unpolished, she said her language was colloquial and her diction needed polishing. She assured Lorna these were simply speech habits she had learned over the years that could be replaced with intention and practice.
For the first time, Lorna became aware of the way she was presenting herself as a professional. What she heard in that recording did not line up with the way she wanted people to see her. So, Lorna dived in, following every instruction and implementing her weekly homework. She became mindful of pronouncing the endings of her words. She came to understand the difference between formal and informal speech, as she worked to sound like the intelligent, well-educated professional she knew she was.
Her coach helped her to think of ways to improve her word choices, her body language and to even get a better sound out of her voice. After a only few weeks of training, one day an employee from another department was talking to Lorna over the phone. Mid-conversation, the employee paused and asked Lorna whether she had gotten a promotion. She wanted to know why she sounded so different. She wasn’t the only one to notice; Lorna was getting commentary on these observations from all over the company.
Lorna had determined it was important to present herself on the level she wanted others to see her. She was extremely grateful to her manager who thought enough of her to invest in her personal development and she took full advantage of all the tools and techniques she received. Within six months, Lorna had become visibly more polished and was able to represent herself as a true professional. The icing on the cake was when she was chosen to represent her organization at an international networking event in Canada. She was elated. She said she felt so much more confident, as that was something she previously would not have been comfortable doing. She was successful in her assignment and was able to establish key relationships for her organization while there. Her manager was pleased and impressed; and Lorna was promoted.
Do you speak in a way you want to be perceived or does your speech diminish your professional credibility? Communication is a skill that can be developed just like any other skill. Anyone can become more articulate with practice. Make sure your communication skills are helping, not hurting you.
- Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: [email protected] or call 242-225-9013.