Has anyone every told you to “use your voice”? You know it’s important. You want to use your voice.   The why is clear. If you don’t speak up–for yourself, your passions, your family, and your dreams, who will? But the when, the where, and the how are the challenge. Everyone tells you to use your voice, but no one tells you how to use it.

Lawyers are called counselors for a reason. I am privileged to counsel my clients on how to use their voices. When we prep for trial, we spend hours on the different ways a voice can be used. And now, in my consulting work, I work with clients on HOW to use their voices to be better teammates, better leaders, and build better relationships with their clients.  The HOW of using your voice takes too long to cover here. But the first step is to be aware. 

Before you can use your voice effectively, you have to be aware of what you want to say. Too often we lash out and speak without awareness, and the results of those words can change our jobs, our families and our lives. But when we realize that the first step of using our voices is not opening our mouths but opening our minds, things get better. 

It starts with awareness of our words, but we also have to be aware of how we want to say them. Watch your tone, because tone is everything.  During Trial Day 9 (the listening challenge), we talked a little bit about the power of your tone of voice. Don’t underestimate that power. The tone of your voice can be a clue to whether your partner is cheating. And if you’re a woman, the tone of your voice can make plants grow faster. As I discuss in my upcoming book, I believe the tone of my voice was the key to some of my victories at trial. Imagine what else your voice could do….

Use your voice. It sounds so easy. We all know that it’s not. But here’s one thing I’d bet my bottom dollar on–if you start with awareness, your voice, and all of the things you speak for,  will thank you.

Let us know how you choose to use your voice today. Share below, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

PS–it’s actually only been 21 years as a trial lawyer. I started as a law clerk, so it feels like 25!

10 thoughts on “TRIAL DAY 15-USE YOUR VOICE

  1. At the beginning of my career I thought that my voice will be a detriment to my success because of my accent. It wasn’t until later that I realized that Americans truly love accents (not just say it) and listen to me more carefully, actually pay attention and hear what I have to say because I speak differently. I use the sound of my voice to win. Although I must admit, my accent no longer works on my kids, unless I switch to Lithuanian I never need to raise my voice. When I start speaking Lithuanian, they know I mean business. I can’t switch to Lithuanian in court, so I need more tips!

    1. I love your accent! and I LOVE that you’ve seen one of the things I stress with my clients–it is our DIFFERENCES that lead us to our wins. Thanks so much for your comment. You gave me another great illustration for my workshops!

  2. As a classroom teacher I was very aware of how my voice was an integral part of my effectiveness. A quick example…. When I was a high school band director, you can imagine how difficult it was to get 150+ teenage students to combine and unify to create a performance that was acceptable to the high standards that I put in front of them. But on those days, and everyone has them, where things are not going well, the level of my voice would be up a few notches, and along with a few appropriate facial expressions, quickly made my students raise their level of attention, and consequently their performance.

  3. Great one. I do need to take a breath before I use my voice and the tone that comes from it! I’m confident in my words but need to work on tone. TY

  4. Using my voice, I used to think raising it was best in some situations. I also though using it for long stretches without listening and even drowning out the other person was the right thing to do, because I was right.

    Over a LOT of years, I finally learned. Thank you for reminding me to review this quote, which helped me a lot. It is from Rudolf Flesch in “The Art of Clear Thinking.”

    On page 74 he says, “When you argue with someone, you pit your organization of nerve patterns against his. Your opinion is the result of past experience; so is his. If you win the argument, it means that your opponent has to realign his nerve patter so that they parallel yours.

    That is unpleasant for him. Everybody’s established opinions are as comfortable as an old shoe; They have acquired exactly the right shape and form through continued use in all sorts of conditions. If you are forced to accept a different opinion, it’s like getting used to a new pair of shoes: the change might be for the better, but it’s always a somewhat uncomfortable experience.”

    On page 75, he says, “Winning an argument is therefore, to begin with, doing something unpleasant to someone else. But does that matter, you say, if you are right and the other fellow is wrong? Well does it? …You win. Was it worth doing that to him? Is the truth that important?”

    I will stop here, or I will be quoting the whole (old) book, it is so good. I have many books by him.

    What I discovered for myself over these years, is that I had to stop thinking that it was up to me to get out the “truth” (ha ha, like I know the truth). I had to start thinking of the other person. The more I jumped into others’ shoes, the more I felt their life situation. We all have one!

    My Rabbi says that when we are full of ourselves, we have no room for another person. He also stresses being humble and truthful, not sarcastic and “gotcha.” Realizing that I was full of myself was motivation enough to refine my voice. He also says that the thing we are bad at is the thing we can get superb at. By knowing how to develop this trait, we set an example for others and teach them if they want to know.

    With all of that ringing in my ears, my voice is getting far better. I actually receive wonderful and surprising compliments on various character traits regarding communication, which I have been working hard to develop. More people are attracted to me, I’m not scared of attraction to me, I achieve a lot more success, and I feel far more free and happy.

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