We all want to be heard. Yet, no matter how hard we try we still struggle far too much to make ourselves heard in a noisy world.
Why is it so difficulty to be heard?
There is not ONE simple answer to that, but there are however simple reasons why we sink into oblivion as soon as we utter a single word – or write one. Here is a brief selection of some important ‘Don’ts’ if you want to be heard.
3 Reasons Why No One Hears Us
Here are 3 mistakes most of us make that silences our voice immediately.
- We try to speak to everyone, so we end up speaking to no one
- We don’t REALLY know what we want to say, so we sound vague and repetitive. That’s an immediate turn-off
- We confuse authenticity with writing/speaking without reflecting, so we bore the audience with our longwinded rant and irrelevant content.
I could go on, but you get the basic trend! To overcome the problem of not being heard, we have to be ready to make an important shift.
Most of the problems we encounter when we communicate arise because we are over-focused on ourselves, particularly on our performance and image – how we stand, how we move our body, whether we come across as confident, whether we make enough eye contact, etc. We spend far too much time assessing ourselves from an external perspective that we are neither present in ourselves nor are we conscious of how the audience is engaging with us.
The shift comes when we stop over-focusing on ourselves. Instead, we need to focus on our audience. If we want to be heard, we need to focus on making it easier for our audience to hear us.
Make it Easier for the Audience to Hear Us
How do we make it easier for the audience to hear us?
We have to be willing to change the way we communicate – and not just reach for another glitzy gimmick. We have to see successful communication as a dialogue with the audience in which both sides are engaged in an active exchange.
Here are 3 very simple steps that will make that shift a whole lot easier and more effective!
- Be brief! The less you say, the more your audience can hear. Always be ready to condense and shorten what you think you need to say
- Simplify what you say! Once you’ve shortened it, distil your ideas into a clear, simple message. If you struggle to simplify what you say, you don’t really understand it.
- Personalise it! Communicate in your own unique voice – it makes is much easier to listen to and remember what you say
Instead of sinking into oblivion, you want to be heard. To make that shift happen you have to begin and the best time to begin is now.Learn More
I specialise in marketing for introverts. I help quiet, conscientious, sincere professionals, freelancers and small business owners be heard, seen & found in a loud and noisy world, without compromising who they are or their way of during business.
When Eugene, who fits the client-description above, asked my opinion on a new course he was about to purchase, I was actually stunned.
The glossy, sales page promised a template for all your business communication needs. It was written and packaged according to every cliché, gimmick and ‘hot’ tactic in the book. (One template is free, but to get the whole template package you had to buy the full, over-priced course!) Does this sound familiar?
Sacrificing your uniqueness for a one-size-fits-all template
– Why would Eugene, a quiet, honest professional, buy a product that promised to remove his own voice and replace it with a bland and hollow template?
– Why would he sacrifice his uniqueness to disappear into a sea of sameness?
Like so many self-employed & small business owners, Eugene offers a unique, personal service that he’s customised over the years for his niche. He’s truly one-of-a-kind, who cares deeply about his work and his clients.
And that’s precisely what makes him stand out.
However, Eugene doesn’t see it that way.
He doesn’t value his unique way of doing business because he is not even aware of it. Like so many conscientious, quiet business owners, Eugene struggles with marketing, especially with marketing on social media.
He explained to me why he thought this expensive offer would solve his marketing problems. It would allow him to get away from the pressure to be active ‘out there’! He doesn’t find social media ‘easy’. In fact, he finds it ‘exhausting and stressful’. Does this sound familiar?
The online world of communication was designed for extroverts – for people who love the excitement of being part of social activities. They feel energised ‘out there’ and thrive on pubic platforms. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But … between 25% and 45% of us are not energised participating in the public domain. We are actually exhausted by social activities. And Eugene is one of us.
As Susan Cain explains in her thought-provoking book on introverts, it’s not about how much or how little we like to socialise that defines whether or not we are introverted or extroverted. It’s about how socialising impacts on our energy levels.
Marketing for Introverts: Some Alternative Options
What are the options for introverts?
Erasing our uniqueness with a conventional template is NOT one of them.
I already talked about alternative approaches to marketing here beyond the conventional ‘pitch’-approach. Here’s some simple advice I give to my clients:
Don’t try to fit into a world that was not designed for you! Pay attention instead to what comes naturally and easily to you and develop that.
For example, a lot of quiet, sincere people like to write. If that’s you, then focus on developing your writing skills instead of spending time on what drains your energies. However, just writing posts and blogs alone is NOT an effective tactic. To ensure that the right audience finds your writing easily, you have to think strategically about how they will find you. Here are some options:
- Find publications in your area of expertise and submit your writing to an existing audience
- Depending on how often you write, spend time and energy on the SEO for about one in three/four of your posts
- Choose about two pages of your website and spend time on fully optimising the SEO for those pages
Develop Your Unique Voice
The golden rule for making it easy for the right audience to find is this. Focus on developing your unique voice and speak only to those who ‘get’ you, i.e. those who value your approach and your service.
And how do you do that on a practical level?
You can connect with those who value you on social media without creating a personality that is not aligned with who you are. Instead of trying to shout louder than everyone else and ‘go viral’, increase your presence instead by owning who you are and expressing that in an honest, transparent and meaningful way. Then, you can stop wasting your energies trying to ‘crunch the numbers’ and aim to connect on a human-to-human basis with fewer people. That allows you to build your credibility and connections slowly and more organically.
The same approach also applies when you attend a networking event. Stop trying to find clients and start building relationships. Connect at a personal level with one of two people. Listen to them. Ask questions. Respond to their answers and let the conversation develop organically. The best way to make an impression with someone is to let them know you’ve heard them, that you’re interested in them as a human being and not just as a number. Networking is about meeting people who will remember you and refer you on to those who need your services.
Successful Marketing is built on Long-Term Strategies
Communication begins with developing your own unique voice. It’s not something you can achieve in a week or a month. It’s a process that develops as you develop. You can get started on that important journey, by checking out my self-study course here.
It’s one of the best investments quiet, conscientious freelancers and business owners like you can make!
How to be heard in a noisy world that is getting noisier by the nano-second as more and more ‘hot’ tactics and glitz are rolled out? The increasing noise level makes it harder to find a solution to the core question for every solopreneur, freelancer and small business owner: “how can I be heard in a noisy world so that the right audience can easily hear me and find me?”
Why does Everyone Sound like Everyone Else?
However, It’s not just that is getting more difficult to be heard in a noisy world. There’s also something else going on, as Sarah, one of my clients, pointed out recently.
“Why is everyone sounding more and more like a copy-and-paste version of everyone else,” she asked.
She’d just read a new post by a ‘respected’ coaching professional, who she said, “should know better”. (i.e. she’s been in business for some time!).
According to Sarah, she’s now talking about “deets” and “peeps” and her every post is now “a thinly disguised ‘pitch’ that I can see coming from the first sentence.” Then she summed up her frustration:
“I can’t feel the person writing these posts anymore with all the fancy words and tricks, so I’m not going to bother reading them!”
I’ve noticed the same trend, too, and find myself unsubscribing and un-following more and more to what I call ‘template junk’ content.
Why are we Sacrificing our Voice at the Algorithms Altar?
Why are we sacrificing one of our greatest assets – our unique voice – to the algorithms which are constantly changing?
What I mean with ‘voice’ is not just the ‘how’ of writing (style, language, etc.). It’s also about how you show up in your communication – having your own perspective, the topics you choose to write about, the way you interact with the reader, etc. Having a voice is about having a distinctive identity that others can see, feel, sense, identify and hear. It’s about showing up as YOU!
In a world that seems addicted to the automated ‘clicks & likes’ game, isn’t it important to stand back, pause and just be yourself?
The Pressure to Conform in a Noisy World
Being yourself, however, is not so easy in a world where the pressure to conform is enormous.
When clients ask me how to be heard in a noisy world, I encourage them to start the process by developing their voice. The immediate reaction is to question the relevancy of my advice – “what’s my voice got to do with finding clients”. They they hurl a list of reasons why my advice wouldn’t work for them.
This list below includes the most common ones, but it’s certainly not comprehensive:
- No one would want to listen to them if they used their own voice. (If you haven’t tried, how can you know they won’t want to listen?)
- The voices that are seen and heard ‘out there’, i.e. the ones that have high numbers of views & likes, all sound similar. (Numbers don’t automatically convert into paying clients)
- They’re afraid that using their own voice would expose them in a public space, which makes them feel very vulnerable. (If you concentrate on connecting with your own audience, it greatly reduces the ‘dangers’ of being exposed)
- Using the same language as everyone else makes them feel like they belong to the group. And having a sense of belonging is important to them. (Exchanging your identity and individuality in order to fit in, is a very high price to pay)
The Benefits of Developing Your Voice as Your #1 Solution
While the pressure to conform and fit in is huge, it also overshadows the benefits of developing your voice. And it does take courage to take that step.
Not only do you enjoy the freedom to discover your unique voice and express yourself in the way that feels aligned with who you are and what you do, it makes it so much easier for those looking for you to find you. As I’ve already pointed out in relation to your story, your voice is also your USP.
Why Speaking in Your Own Voice Positions You to be Easily Found
Speaking in your own voice is one of the best ways to position yourself to be easily found by those looking for what you offer.
Because your voice acts like an antenna for those on your wavelength. They are the people already tuned into the service or product you provide and how it can help them. When you speak in your own voice, not only does it resonate with the right audience. It automatically positions you as the easily-found expert in your field.
Developing your voice also helps distinguish you from the crowd. It makes you ‘one of a kind’ for the audience looking for someone like you. Your unique voice helps them spot you immediately.
If you’d like to find out more about developing your voice as a key factor in successful business communication check out my self-study course here.Learn More