Wow, you sound just like her
🚨COOL THINGY ALERT!🚨
Just for fun, I’m trying Substack’s podcast feature to deliver this issue of Illuminate Me in both written and audio forms. Just click the box to hear my speaking voice, which, not surprisingly, sounds exactly like my writing voice.
Looking back, I see that my childhood held a few clues about my future profession.
When I was a kid and would answer our home phone (yes, before cell phones, each house had ONE PHONE that everyone SHARED), everyone assumed I was my mom, saying, “Hi, Kathy!” Inevitably, I’d have to tell them that no, this was her daughter, Amy, but I would get her.
It turns out I was also pretty good at impersonations, repeating back lines from movies and television shows with surprising accuracy, mimicking voices, body language, tone, and all those things that make actors sound like them.
These days, you might say my ability to do impressions and mimic others is kinda my job.
But that ends with their content.
When working with a social media ghostwriting client, my objective is to become their conduit; it’s about their ideas and insights, not mine.
I do this in several ways:
First, I listen. Not just to their words, phrasing, and cadence, but also to what’s not being said. I pick up on and ask them about subtle shifts in their tone, which always provides additional context.
Next, I take copious notes. I prefer my client meetings to be phone calls because I’m focused on accurately capturing what they’re saying, head down, and pen to paper.
Finally, after our call, I block out distractions and practice what I call “method writing,” channeling my clients to nail their unique voices.
Whether you sound like Janice from “Friends” (Chandler Bing!), Matthew McConaughey (Alright, alright, alright!), or even Dark Vader (Luke, I am your father.), your voice is linked to your personal brand and thought leadership.
But copying someone else’s voice is a big no-no in thought leadership. Don’t mimic anyone; be yourself.
Here’s a breakdown of the seven other thought leadership missteps:
1. You only share the wins
Nothing is a bigger turnoff than someone who is continuously boasting. People respond to those who are genuine and admit when they’ve made a mistake.
2. You push your product or service
Don’t make the mistake of using your platform for blatant self-promotion. Instead, provide value by serving, not selling.
3. You try to cover too much ground
Stick to those few areas where you are an expert. When you stay within your wheelhouse, your audience sees you as the go-to person.
4. You never get to the point
Meandering signals that you’re unorganized and unsure. Keep to one brief, compelling message.
5. You share haphazardly or infrequently
Regularly and consistently publish your wisdom, so your network looks forward to—and trusts—your insights and observations.
6. You post and ghost
Merely posting isn’t enough; you want to start conversations and build relationships, so engage with those who engage with your posts.
7. You’re not telling a consistent career story
People want to learn more about thought leaders. Create a cohesive, up-to-date, and engaging presence that aligns with your content and supports your positioning.
Our voice says a lot about us to others, for better or worse.
And with an increase in audio-based communication, how you say something is just as important as what you’re saying.
In my latest Forbes article, I share how to master your vocal cues to ensure your intended message comes through.
(With another tip of the hat to the amazing Vanessa Van Edwards, whose new book Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication inspired this article!)
P.S. Now that we’re inbox-exclusive (love that about us!), why not follow my musings across the interwebs on Forbes, LinkedIn (be sure to hit the 🔔 in the top right corner of my profile to get notified when I post!), Twitter, and Instagram too?
P.P.S If you really want to get meta, subscribe to my new weekly LinkedIn newsletter, m o m e n t u m, featuring insights to help you maintain positive motion and continually grow your career. As a bonus, it links to ALL of my content for the week, so you’ll never miss a thing and keep the momentum going! (See what I did there? 😉)
P.P.P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or practicing my newest impression, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
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