Have you ever received feedback about your voice, personality, presence or impact that stung? Unfortunately most of us have. There are a couple of reasons that feedback might sting. First, the person giving the feedback probably hasn’t ever studied voice work or anything else that enables them to give feedback with any kind of mastery. So, in their attempts to help you improve and move forward, they may unintentionally do more harm than good. Second, your voice is an expression of your Soul, so when someone criticizes your voice, it can cut like a knife. Third, they may hit on a kernel of truth with their clumsy feedback that a part of you wants to acknowledge and do something about, but you don’t know how to move forward from the way they phrased it. The good news is, by looking at your feedback through the lens of The Vocal Presence Path™, you can begin to reframe the feedback and make it useful.
Imagine that you work in corporate America. You’re a Director hoping to get promoted to Sr. Director (and possibly one day Vice President and so on). During your review your boss gives you the following feedback: “Sometimes you’re vibrant, full of life and inspiring and other times you come off as arrogant.” Now, that one isn’t too bad because it includes and in fact leads with the positive. However, it still isn’t very useful in terms of assessing and creating change in impact as a leader.
Here are a few examples of some of the worst feedback I’ve heard:
“You have no impact when you speak.”
“You come off as a wimp.”
“You come off as arrogant.”
“People sometimes think you’re a bitch.”
“Your voice is strident.”
“Your voice is grating.”
“You’re too meek.”
“You take up too much space in meetings.”
“You’re a bully.”
“You have great ideas but you’re not being heard or respected”
“You need to be more forceful.”
If you imagine yourself on the receiving end of these comments it probably doesn’t feel good. Now, let’s take a look at what these feedback givers might be pointing toward that’s useful.
Take a look at The Vocal Presence Path™ below and consider which steps you might consider in relation to each comment.
Acknowledge and Release your Soul Suckers™
Root in a Sense of Purpose
Embody What’s Important
Breathe Life into the Experience
Energize yourSelf and the Space
Connect (truly, madly, deeply) with Others
Take Others along for the Ride
Next week I’ll give you my perspective on the places to look for different types of comments.