The Importance of a Feminine Voice

What is your true voice?  How do you authentically express your ideas and communicate with others?

In general is the voice of a man different from the voice of a woman?  I’d have to say yes based on my experiences.  Of course there is a spectrum, but men generally speak one way and women generally speak another.

According to a recent study, the language that men and women use in executive board meetings greatly differs.

“The research found that women were four times more likely than men to be self-deprecating, use humour and speak indirectly or apologetically when broaching difficult subjects with board members in order to avoid conflict. And it doesn’t always work.”

Why doesn’t it always work?  Is this a sign of weakness?  Should this be viewed as a sign of weakness?

After reading this study I have become more cognizant of my voice, especially during meetings at work.  I realized that I often begin sentences with I think.  I contemplated my reasons for a few days.  I want to take ownership of my idea.  Additionally, I hope to let others know that I am stating my opinion and welcome their responses.  I believe that this language is stronger than stating an opinion as fact.

However, I do realize that there are times when my voice is a little more tentative and questioning than it should be.  There are times when instead of finding my voice I try to duplicate the voices of those around me.  In these times I need to find and express my authentic voice.

I think we are at a critical juncture in how women behave and are viewed in an office environment.  We are just beginning to recognize the importance of a more traditional feminine method.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, teams that include several women are more effective than teams that only include men.  A key piece to this is communication and social intelligence.

“What do you hear about great groups? Not that the members are all really smart but that they listen to each other. They share criticism constructively. They have open minds. They’re not autocratic. “

What if instead of women trying to behave more like men or hiding behind their voices, we introduce more women to the boardroom?  That is, we need a greater feminine presence through their voices and opinions across the workplace, especially in technology and software development where women are still greatly outnumbered by men.

Additionally, we can value the feminine discourse and introduce men to a more feminine dialect.  Arguably, there are times when a more masculine voice might be best and times where a more feminine voice would be best, but we need to equally value both.  To achieve this more women need to find and express their authentic feminine voice.  Through this both men and women can truly begin to value the power of the feminine voice.

What do I mean by feminine voice?  How do you find your true voice?  I plan to do a series of posts to answer these questions and share my experiences with finding, hiding, and expressing my feminine voice.

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4 thoughts on “The Importance of a Feminine Voice

  1. Great post! I read somewhere that it takes 3 women on a board before they stop seeing themselves as the token ladies. And if you’re preoccupied with whether you’re there for experience or checking a diversity box it’s harder to be a great board member.

    • That is a great point. Even if you know you belong there, there is still the fear that others view you that way which can be distracting from the job you are trying to do.

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