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Finding Your (Authentic) Voice—An Important Business Tool

2 min read

Your authentic voice allows you to own relationships in a proprietary way. Because nobody can be you.

In business, terms like “having voice,” “building relationship,” or “being authentic” are often lumped into the general category of “soft” skills, which are frequently dismissed as less important or “nice to have” when compared to “hard” skills like “execution.”

Carla Harris, Vice Chairman at financial services giant Morgan Stanley, with whom I shared the stage at a recent leadership conference, says, “Your authentic voice allows you to own relationships in a proprietary way. Because nobody can be you.”

By “voice” she means the totality of you. Your personality, your values, your character, your skills, and your effort create your unique voice. And for your voice to be authentic, you have to know who you are and what you stand for.

Your voice helps you stand out from a crowd of the many voices, which often blend into one cookie cutter version of a “business person.”

Carla is certainly unique. There are not many financial service leaders who would open their presentation by singing an original R&B recording, and then go on to articulate their quantifiable business achievements that drove growth and revenue for their business.

Right side, left side, or both?

brain-2062055_1920The right hemisphere is our creative, emotional side. The left hemisphere is our science, math, and logic side.

A truly balanced leader is able to do the job (left side), but also has presence, empathy, and people skills from the right side to be most successful. Carla has the ability to exercise both sides of her brain, the quantitative and process driven left side, and the creative and people-focused right side.

Many leaders lean towards the left side and get the job done. But it’s only through years of effort, personal growth, and learning that they can start to tap into the talents they have on the right side—the people side—to become truly balanced, great leaders.

Carla embodies much of what we have been teaching business leaders for nearly three decades. At Ariel, our focus is helping highly skilled people (left brainers) expand their repertoire of talent to include the ability to make authentic connections. This starts, ironically, with saying less, and listening to your audience, empathizing with them, and finding your voice to make that authentic connection.

Whether you are writing a simple email to your team, presenting a new concept to leadership, or pitching a piece of business to a major client, your voice will make the difference.

Your ideas or products may be just as good as your competitor’s, but your voice is what sets you apart.

As Carla says, own your relationships—nobody else can be you.


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