I’ve said from the start that my entrepreneurial mission is to help you find your own unique brand of smart, authentic communication.
In other words, I want to help you find your voice.
Not mine, dressed in drag, not your favorite online superstar’s, dressed in….a kitty costume.
YOUR voice. 100% authentic. Alllll you, baby. Nothing else will do.
There’s a lot I could (and will eventually) share when it comes to voice, authenticity, copycatting, and the like. (These are some of my favorite juicy hot topics!) But I’ve gotta tackle ’em one at a time.
sermon post, I’ll tell you why finding your voice is absolutely critical to the success of your business. Then, once you understand why it’s so ridiculously important, I’ll tell you the shockingly simple secret to finding it.
What is “voice,” really?
The word “voice” gets thrown around a lot in the world of words. So let’s get clear on what we’re talking about here.
When I say “voice,” I mean your own unique style of communicating. The distinctive manner in which you share your thoughts and ideas with the world.
Key word: Distinctive.
And why is it so stinkin’ important?
When potential clients or customers visit your site, they want to know what it’s reeeeally like to work with you. (And they deserve to know.) In most cases, this is their only chance to hear you before they hire you.
You’ve got to be consistent, friend!
I’ve been really intentional about “consistent authenticity” for as long as I can remember. So whether you overhear me catching up with a girlfriend, or leading a VIP tour for the admiral of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, you’ll hear the same personality.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t adapt to your audience. In terms of actual content, that’s a must. But in terms of personality? No way, Jose.
Whether you’re talking to your dream clients or your grandma, you have GOT to be yourself. Nothing else will do. (Tweet that!)
If you’re sending mixed signals because you’re trying too hard to sound like someone else, you’re setting yourself (and your potential clients) up for a potentially confusing, disappointing, and/or awwwkward situation.
It’s like a sneaky bait-and-switch operation. Like you’re a social chameleon. Feels slimy. And nobody likes to feel slimy.
That’s why authenticity is important.
Now onto my next point…
You are cool.
Be honest. Do you feel like there’s a “cool” way to write and a “not cool” way to write?
Yeah. You gotta shake that.
You know what makes writing “cool”? Authenticity. (Tweet that!)
So what if you don’t have an over-the-top personality? The world can only handle so many of those before it explodes!* (*Hyperbole.)
Maybe you’re laid back. Introverted. A bit straightforward, or maybe a little goofy. That’s OKAY. Wonderful. Refreshing, even. And your right people will absolutely LOVE that about you. They need to hear what you’ve got to say in the way that only you can say it.
Cool people don’t think they’re cool. They’re confident being exactly who they are, and the world appreciates them for that.
So. One more time, with gusto: You are plenty cool.
Copycats, however, are not.
I could write an entire blog post (or made-for-TV movie) on the topic of copycatting, which to me, is a cutesy word for cheating. And unlike you, it’s not cool. As the saying goes:
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland (Tweet that!)
I realize a lot of experts (and non-experts) say you should “copy” people whose styles you admire. When it comes to formatting – bold, italics, white space, headings, headline formulas, and the like, I totally agree. No biggie.
When it comes to word choices and personality however, I wholeheartedly disagree.
On what planet does it make sense to copy someone else’s personality to attract the right people to YOUR business?
If witty one-liners don’t come naturally to you, don’t try so hard to use ’em. You don’t need ’em!
If you love a particular turn of phrase you saw in someone else’s content, but it’s not something YOU would actually say in everyday conversation, stay away from it.
Here’s a fun analogy in honor of my upcoming 10-year high school reunion: Copying “the cool girl’s” language is no different than copying her first day of school outfit. You’re not foolin’ anybody. You look like a second-rate version of somebody else, and that is anything but cool.
There’s a dangerously fine line between being inspired by someone and straight up imitating her. And I think on an instinctive level, most of us can feel the difference.
So don’t be a copycat, homie. You’re way cooler than that!
The Secret to Finding Your Voice
Mkay. Are you with me now? Do you realize how important it is to BE YOURSELF, in each and every interaction? Ready to find YOUR amazingly unique voice?
GOOD. Let’s get to the secret already!
Over the course of the summer, I’ve led over 100 sessions with bright entrepreneurs across the world. I can’t even count how many of them told me, “I’m having a hard time finding my voice.”
Wanna know what I tell them? (It’s the big secret.)
The shockingly simple secret to finding your voice is…
….Listen to yourself!
Truly. It’s that simple.
You’ve already got a voice. You know, the one you use to chat with your best friend? The one you use when working with clients? Yep. That one.
You don’t need to borrow someone else’s. To try someone else’s “style” on for size.
You’ve got an entire arsenal of stories, phrases, and words that you already use to color your world. And they’re amazingly unique. Use them!
Here are some tangible examples of what I mean by “listen to yourself”:
- Write your copy, then read it OUT LOUD. If it doesn’t sound natural coming out of your mouth, change it.
- Try recording it first, THEN writing it. (If you do that, though, be sure to cut it down a bit to make it more concise!) A number of my clients have actually had huge success with this method.
- Read it to a friend. One who isn’t afraid to keep it real with you. You see – what you may like to think sounds like you, may not sound like you at all. And if she’s really a good friend, she’ll tell you that.
The point is – your voice is already in there. It may be getting lost on the way to your fingertips, but it’s in there.
Keep talking, keep listening, and keep writing. You WILL find it. And once you find it, there’s no way you’re gonna lose it again.
If this post hit home with you, please share it with your friends and followers. (I’ve got a lovely array of buttons and social media outlets for you to choose from!)
Let’s talk about it.
This is a touchy subject. Everybody has her own thoughts on that “dangerously fine line” I mentioned earlier. I think we can all agree on this, however: Authentic communication is hugely important to the success in business (and life). It’s a topic worth discussing.
In the comments below, I’d love to know:
What holds you back from injecting your personality into your writing?
BONUS: If you were a pull-string talking toy, what would your key catchphrases be – the things your fam ‘n’ friends could probably recite FOR you by now? Plant a few of these in your copy next week, and see how it feels!