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January 10, 2024

Episode 18: Book Club Permission To Speak by Samara Bay

In this episode, Pam and Sarah discuss the book ‘Permission to Speak: How to Change What Power Sounds Like Starting With You’ by Samara Bay. They explore topics such as developing confidence in speaking, expanding the definition of public speaking, the influence of pitch and voice perception, accepting and appreciating your voice, managing emotion while speaking, the power dynamics of speaking up, connecting with your audience and message, challenging traditional male standards, and reframing apologizing and offense. They also discuss the importance of authenticity, taking up space, and using your voice as a tool to have a greater impact. The conversation explores the importance of emotional connection and the need for leaders to develop emotional intelligence. It also delves into the perception of female leaders and the false ideal of a non-emotional, disconnected leader. The discussion highlights the idea that using your voice as a tool is not inauthentic, but rather a way to achieve your goals. Topics include:
  • the internalized misogyny the book uncovered for Pam
  • how the book can help anyone speak more confidently in any situation
  • how history impacts how we feel about our voice and others’ voices
  • tips for recording your voice so you become comfortable hearing it
  • why emotions can overwhelm you when you do try to speak up
  • how to use emotions strategically to convey your message
  • rethinking power dynamics and leadership rolls
  • focusing your attention on your audience and goal to reduce nervousness
  • how the way you breathe is connected to the way you speak
  • “fake it til you make it” when speaking
  • considering what you’re missing by dismissing certain voices
  • rethinking popular advice to not say sorry as much
  • code switching in a way that feels authentic
  • learning to love your voice while expanding what you can do with it
Takeaways Developing confidence in speaking is valuable for anyone, not just those interested in public speaking. Authenticity and emotional connection are important in communication skills. Recording and listening to your voice can help you become more comfortable with it. Challenging traditional male standards and biases is necessary for personal growth and empowerment. Taking up space and using your voice as a tool can have a greater impact on your audience. Developing emotional intelligence is crucial for effective leadership. The perception of female leaders is often influenced by biases and stereotypes. Using your voice as a tool to achieve your goals is not inauthentic. Your voice is unique and can be celebrated while also evolving and growing.

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This transcript was generated by AI so please ignore any weird errors. If there is anything really terrible, let us know.

[00:00:08] Pam: We’re having another book club episode this week, and this time Sarah picked the book. It’s called Permission to Speak, how to Change What Power Sounds Like, starting With You Samara Bay. And I have to admit, this is not a book that I would’ve picked on my own. It’s just not a topic that I thought was terribly interesting to me.

I have not had a lot of trouble speaking up, I don’t think. some things definitely came up while reading the book that have that kind of enlightened me and maybe made me think that I did have some issues using my voice. so I was pleasantly surprised with the book and with reading it.

[00:00:51] Sarah: Oh, good. I’m so glad that you, um, were willing to dive in with me. It’s definitely a topic that I was excited about. I had heard anecdotally about the book. That it was a great read, and one of my, one of my, major areas of coaching is in communication skills and public speaking. So supporting people, supporting my clients and my students with, frameworks and tools to empower them to feel more confident speaking is

Something I do every day. So I was really interested to hear her perspective and I’m glad you got some nuggets out of it, even as somebody who generally feels confident speaking up.

[00:01:39] Pam: Yeah, definitely. And the book’s audience is primarily women who do wanna feel more comfortable speaking, but I do think that the content is valuable for anyone who has the goal of being more confident speaking, even if that’s not public speaking, even if it’s just, bringing things up with a boss or a coworker or a partner or friends.

Really, the framework of the book is is for developing confidence in your voice and who you are and your perspective, not necessarily getting up on a big stage and giving a talk.

[00:02:13] Sarah: Yeah, I agree with you a hundred percent. And really she wants us to examine, what we see as being a powerful, what society generally deems to be a powerful, authoritative voice, to really challenge that assumption and broaden the range of. What we accept as, powerful, confident voices. So I completely agree with you.

the audience is much broader and also what you said around public speaking, I wanna build on that ’cause I agree with that too. Public speaking isn’t just about giving, delivering a TED Talk or speaking, to a huge conference room full of individuals. It can be absolutely speaking up to your boss.

It can be speaking up to your partner. It can be how you hold yourself in around a restaurant table with a bunch of friends.

[00:03:07] Pam: Yeah.

[00:03:08] Sarah: It can be really any kind of instance where you are giving yourself to use her words, permission to voice what you wanna say in a way that feels honest and where you’re not holding back.

[00:03:23] Pam: Yeah, and she talks a lot about how we hold back because of the power dynamic and how we think that people who are powerful have the right to speak up and have the right to really say anything that they wanna say, it the way they wanna say it, be as emotional or not emotional as they wanna be.

Really like power is the the focus there on how we perceive who has the right to speak up and

[00:03:51] Sarah: Yeah. I thought that was fascinating. How clearly ar, how she articulated that so clearly.

[00:03:58] Pam: Yeah. Yeah. The history of the way that has been built into our society and into how we perceive literally everything was really fascinating. I found that really interesting and a lot of it focused on, our pitch and that lower voices are, perceived as more powerful, whether we realize it or not.

And that was something that I, that really hit home for me because my voice was something that I like I didn’t like to hear it on recordings. I always thought it sounded, like a chipmunk or, high pitched. And I didn’t really realize that the reason that I felt that way was this baked in misogyny and, distaste for, higher pitched voices, even though I don’t have a very high pitched voice for a woman. I actually have a little bit of a lower voice naturally. But still, when you hear your own voice, it doesn’t feel powerful. It doesn’t feel strong. And so that was something that really hit home for me.


I. Yeah. And I wanna pause on that. You mentioned your, the previous relationship you had with hearing the sound of your voice and how you used to not like listening to the sound of your voice and how that your relationship with your own voice has evolved ’cause you’ve, been on podcasts, you speak more.

[00:05:25] Sarah: So you have that experience now listening to yourself. And I think it’s such a good place to pause and comment on the fact that it’s so common for people to dislike the sound of their own voice.

[00:05:38] Pam: Yeah.

[00:05:40] Sarah: And where did I read? Yeah, I read it was actually a Harvard teaching hospital. And this is a very recent study from 2023.

interviewed 1500 individuals and 58% of them said that they didn’t like listening to themselves, right? 58%. And it’s our voice. We should really, at the very least, accept it. Have a level of acceptance and appreciation for it. So it’s very common to not enjoy hearing the way we stand or for people to, this will happen in my classes when I record folks, either audio or video, and then they have to record themselves.

There’s a collective laughing and a cringe. Oh, I don’t wanna have to hear that. So I think the book is important. I think the subject is really important because I think there’s a lot of freedom to be found in knowing our, the way our voices sound and accepting them for what they are. And if we wanna make modifications, tweaks, evolve our voice, broaden our range, great.

So it’s not an, it’s not just accept it the way that it is and never change . but that process of, self-acceptance and then chosen evolution, I think is valuable because we’ll just accept ourselves more and that’s just gonna feel good.

[00:07:09] Pam: Yeah. And, I think we don’t hear our own voices very We hear it in our head, but we don’t hear what other people hear. So it’s unnatural. It’s, it sounds weird when you hear a recording of your own voice. So I think the best thing to do is to record yourself a lot and listen to it. And that can feel weird.

I, obviously had an excuse with having podcasts and then having to edit them. I heard my voice a lot and that Got me over. It really got me over hearing it now, it doesn’t bother me at all, but you don’t have to have a podcast. You can just, read a book into your phone, record yourself doing that, and listen back to it.

whatever you wanna do, whatever you wanna read, just get used to hearing your voice and hearing your cadence, hearing how you. say different words or like places where you get nervous, whatever that is, just getting comfortable hearing it and getting that feedback. It’s football players, they watch the tape, after the game and they see how they played and they improve.

And you can do that by recording your voice.

[00:08:16] Sarah: That’s such a brilliant idea. I love that exercise.

[00:08:20] Pam: So a couple of other things that came up for me, while listening or reading the book was, times when emotion overtakes you when you’re trying to speak. I don’t know, if everyone has this, but my sister and I both have this thing that if we feel like we’re in trouble or if we are disappointing an authority figure, we immediately start crying.

can’t stop it from happening, and I haven’t been in this situation in a long time, so I don’t really have a lot of people that are authority figures over me anymore. But it was definitely an issue when I was younger and one time has stood out for years in my head. Whenever I think about it, I was quitting a job where I was miserable, like I would cry in the car on the way home from work almost every day because the job was, it had just gotten to a point where I was untenable, and so I quit. And when I told my boss that I was quitting, I could hardly even get the words out. I was just a blubbering mess. I just was crying and it was like, why am I crying when I’m standing up for myself and I’m quitting a miserable job?

what is this? And. I think that that’s something that she talks about quite a lot in the book, but I do think that it’s probably something that a lot of people have, whether it’s crying or not, some sort of emotion

comes up and stops you from expressing yourself the way that you want to.

[00:09:51] Sarah: Oh yes. And the book really dives into as well the power of emotion, right? That our mo, that if we gave ourselves permission to feel all those emotions and express all of those emotions, we would have a better impact when we speak. We’d be more connected to our truth, and our audience would better understand us.

And instead, we’ve really been taught to suppress those emotions.

[00:10:16] Pam: Yeah.

[00:10:18] Sarah: and going back to this other key theme that you mentioned, the power dynamics. This was something I thought it really hit me over the head how clearly she laid this out, that in any relationship where there’s a clear power dynamic, for example, in your instance, boss versus employee or parent versus child, teacher versus student, we have a traditional power dynamic.

The person who holds the greater power in that relationship automatically has freedom to have a wider range with their voice and demonstrate emotion, right? Parents can yell, a teacher can yell, a, boss can get flabbergasted and, lose their cool at work. Whereas as an employee, that would be considered unacceptable.

[00:11:08] Pam: Yeah.

[00:11:09] Sarah: So I think that’s super interesting, like this idea of power dynamics and where we feel comfortable expressing our emotion and where we don’t. And so in this instance, this person, even though in fact you had the power to walk away, so it’s not to say that they had all this power over you. You were still walking away from a dynamic where you were subordinate to your boss. And so there you are expressing yourself, and then all these emotions came out. So it makes, sense in that

[00:11:42] Pam: Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting looking through our, notes because you wrote a lot about the emotional topics from the book and I didn’t, and I think that’s really telling. I’m not a terribly emotional person. Like I’m very stoic and I don’t get too excited or too upset. Like I’m always like, really in the middle

[00:12:05] Sarah: So you’re like, there was this one time I cried when my boss

[00:12:10] Pam: I’ve cried once. Yes. so I found that really interesting. I don’t know if you consider yourself more of an emotional person or if you are like me and you’re very stoic. So you were, um, drawn to the emotional parts of the, focus of the book because of your stance on, or your position on emotions.

So what do you think?

[00:12:38] Sarah: I am definitely a highly emotional person, highly sensitive person, uh, with high level of emotional intelligence, and that’s also something that I work with my clients on a lot, and it’s also a huge link. I see when it comes to communication, skill improvement, when it comes to public speaking and communication, there’s that emotional piece.

[00:13:00] Pam: Yeah.

[00:13:01] Sarah: It’s not enough just to go and learn all the tools and the frameworks and the strategies. You can go on chat GPT and say, how do I become a more confident public speaker? You’re gonna get a list of suggestions, but guess what? If you have, real fears, anxieties, concerns, uh, insecurities, et cetera around Using your voice around speaking up, sharing your message, all of those structures and tools will only get you so far. And so tho it, you’re right. Those elements of the book really spoke to me and I found them very truthful and very, rev revelatory. it’s not just a passing thing. Oh, manage your stress and you’ll be so much better at public speaking. It really is a, huge deal and I found this. The elements of the emotions. So interesting that she said, broaden your, range of, or broaden your access to these emotions, your ability to name them, your ability to feel them, and then bring those to your speech. These are my words, not her exact words, but bring those to your speaking.

In a controlled way. In a deliberate way. And you’re gonna have a bigger impact. ’cause that’s also something I see often people will come and say, I wanna be a better speaker. I wanna be a more professional speaker. And then there’s a rigidity, there’s a monotonous there, flat lining, because we wanna sound professional, we don’t wanna sound over emotional and God forbid, quote unquote, crazy, right?

The way women are often . Deemed , and in the process we have less of an impact. The audience can’t connect to us. It sounds boring and, we’re not expressing the actual truth, so something is missing there.

[00:14:55] Pam: Yeah. And I think that’s really the trap. And she goes into this quite a bit, that women are trying to match . The way men have spoken and in doing so have, flattened their emotions, flattened their tone, reduced their pitch. Gone for, um, mimicking what they have seen men in power do, and that has taken something away from their power.

And it’s a bit of a trap because as you said, women can be labeled as crazy or overemotional or unreliable or whatnot. If they do display quote unquote, too much emotion. And I think the key there is . Building the confidence in you and your message so that you can use the emotions intelligently use them strategically.

you wouldn’t wanna be like me and get up on a stage and just start crying, you, you need to,

you need to use the, use humor and use compassion and use vulnerability at the right points in the message. And you have to have the confidence and the control over your message to do that.

[00:16:17] Sarah: Absolutely. I like everything you just said. I wanna build on, at the beginning you talked about something around around like care… you have to care about your message or care about the impact of your message. So I think that’s a really key part that I’ve experienced for myself and for my students and clients.

That’s often a shifting moment, is figuring out why does this message matter to my audience? This isn’t about me being so amazing on the stage, sounding so amazing on the podcast and dazzling, everyone. Really is about what’s important about what I’m sharing for my audience. How can this little bit of information or big piece of information improve their lives?

And when you’re clear on that, when you can name that yourself and really stand in that, then the spotlight can shift from, oh, putting a light on myself. Wondering how good I sound as assessing, criticizing, taking that light and instead shining it outwards and saying, is this landing on my audience?

Do you, can you feel what I care about here?

Am I communicating this? Do you get this?

[00:17:33] Pam: Yeah.

[00:17:34] Sarah: I mean it, yeah.

[00:17:37] Pam: Yeah. Shifting the focus. Absolutely. I watched a documentary recently, about, uh, it was a journalist who was investigating some crimes and she had to go up and knock on doors of strangers and like retired police and it was really uncomfortable and potentially unsafe. And she’s, talking about how it makes her so nervous.

And whenever I watch things like that, I’m cr like cringing that they’re going up to the stranger’s door and knocking. Like it was something that I would never wanna do. And she said, this is one of the hardest parts of my job, but I think about the people that I’m trying to help , and that’s what gets me to go and knock on this door.

And I thought that was really powerful because it is. You have to take the pressure off of yourself, take the focus off of yourself and think about why am I doing this?

[00:18:30] Sarah: Yes. All right. So that was, so that’s another key part of the book I thought was really thinking, connecting with your audience. Connecting about connecting to why your message will matter to somebody else.

[00:18:45] Pam: And talking about connecting. She talks a lot about how there’s a big connection between our voice and our breath.

And most of us don’t breathe very well. I know that sounds silly because we breathe all day every day, we’re, anxious and we’re stressed and we’re, hunched over keyboards and we’re breathing very shallow.

We don’t connect with our breath. We don’t breathe deeply. We don’t breathe through our abdomen anymore. it’s a very, like high and shallow breath. And she talks about how you have to get comfortable relaxing your abdomen to breathe. And that is something that I was like, oh yeah, that’s definitely hard ’cause I’ve spent my entire life sucking my stomach in. And I think

[00:19:33] Sarah: I’ve spent my, I’ve spent my entire life sucking my stomach in.

[00:19:36] Pam: yeah.

[00:19:37] Sarah: as well. My, I’ve never had in my mind a flat enough stomach even before I had kids. Certainly not a, never the I, in fact, the only time I, I never thought about it was when I was obviously pregnant. And I joked about it with some other women.

Oh, it’s so freeing. ’cause I can just let my belly be free.

[00:19:59] Pam: Yeah.

[00:19:59] Sarah: And even though intellectually I might say, oh no, I want, I am gonna accept my body and I’m not gonna do that. It’s a subconscious conditioning.

[00:20:12] Pam: Yeah,

[00:20:12] Sarah: So thank you for sharing that you’ve also done that.

[00:20:16] Pam: I think everyone has a,

a certain extent, She talks about how you have to actively not do that and stand in of the mirror and be like, this is how a body actually looks. Like,

we’re not supposed to be sucked in and flat. That’s not how bodies look.

[00:20:38] Sarah: Yeah.

[00:20:39] Pam: that you just have to get comfortable with that because if you wanna connect to your message and you wanna have control over your breath and be able to use your full voice, you can’t be tense and sucked in.

[00:20:52] Sarah: Yes. And so that sort of tense sucked inness as demonstrated by the body, can be manifested in different ways that affect our speech, right? It’s also when we’re having a really small range or putting our voice up high and then not letting it, so almost shrinking our bodies, shrinking our voices, shrinking our message, shrinking ourselves. Versus this… more of a freedom. So some of the exercise, I find it hard to be honest. When I’m reading a book and it’s explaining an exercise, say this way, do this to your back and your body. I like to be taught and,

witness someone and then do it with them. So I couldn’t do all of the exercises. I tried some of them and I read them and I’d really be interested to see her do some videos of how to do them.

With a lot of the exercises… further to what you were saying about standing and saying, this is my body, this is my belly. I’m breathing. The vocal exercises, were in that spirit of letting go.

[00:22:00] Pam: Yeah. There was one where you, pretend like you’re, you’ve got a ball in your hand and you’re throwing it up in the air and catching it, and as you’re doing that, you’re changing the pitch of your voice. So you’re going like, oh, my name is , and it makes you.

[00:22:15] Sarah: My name is, yeah.

[00:22:18] Pam: And it makes you feel very silly

[00:22:22] Sarah: Yeah.

[00:22:22] Pam: and, takes you, it puts your focus on the ball, the imaginary ball so that you’re not thinking about how silly you sound.

And so you can really start, like you let your stomach go and you let everything go ’cause you’re thinking about, okay, go with this ball. And like you’re focused on so many other things that you can let everything else go, and then you sound more natural. You can connect with your voice more.

And so I, I actually found that one pretty fun and, interesting to do as like a vocal warmup.

[00:22:53] Sarah: Yeah. Cool. Yeah, I, like that. And I really like that theme of loosening up,

[00:23:00] Pam: Yeah.

[00:23:01] Sarah: right? Loosening up. Loosen your belt, Loosen your tight, your pants… if they’re too tight, loosen your, body to, to take up space. In fact, that was one of her sections was explicitly around taking up the space. What does that mean?

That’s a phrase that’s used.

Do you give yourself permission to take up space? How can you take up space? And so there’s the emotional, mental part, psychological part that goes into it. And then physically walking into the room and holding ourselves with our full body, full range of our voice, um, is so different than so many of us experience.

[00:23:47] Pam: Yeah, it is. And it, I was thinking a lot about kind of the fake it till you make it saying, because

when I’ve done public speaking, it, it makes me nervous getting up on a stage and, talking in front of a big group of people. It makes me nervous. I’ve, done very little of it because I feel like I don’t have anything that I am enough of an expert in that I have.

Any business being up on a stage talking to people. I’m sure that there are people out there that would disagree with me, but that’s just my stance. but when I have done it, um, I do, I of embody a part of my personality, which is the entertainer, and I go in there and I pretend this is what I do.

I like public speaking. I’m gonna connect with the whole audience. And I’m faking it, right? I am. That’s not, I’m definitely nervous, I’m faking it. And you can do that. You can walk into a room and be like, I’m gonna look confident and I’m gonna look powerful, even though I don’t feel that way.

Because people will then treat you like you belong and like you’re confident and powerful and then that gives you a feedback loop. Then you start to feel like, oh, okay, I actually do belong here. I actually am confident. And it, you do that fake until you make it and you can come in with more confidence and more presence than you maybe would have before.

[00:25:14] Sarah: And so have you had experiences where you feel that you’re faking it less and you’re just. Being.

[00:25:23] Pam: I haven’t done enough public speaking to get there. I think I’ve only given three talks in my career. but I think in situations like this, like podcasting or in groups where I’m having, conversations about difficult topics or whatever, I’ve definitely become more confident and more, um, able to take up that space and to be confident in my voice. But that’s just come through practice. Yeah.

[00:25:52] Sarah: and it’s interesting that we’re talking about this because one of our, one of the things we designed for these podcast sessions was to be unscripted.

So we certainly prepare, as you mentioned. We have notes. I review, check out your notes, you check out mine. We, align on a topic and then we’re very free flowing.

[00:26:18] Pam: Yeah.

[00:26:18] Sarah: We’re quite fluid and we’re quite in the moment. So that’s not faking it. That’s really the presence versus the presentation

[00:26:25] Pam: Yeah.

[00:26:27] Sarah: which is a different experience. I can do both

[00:26:33] Pam: Yep.

[00:26:33] Sarah: the, especially when I’m teaching.

The prepared presentation. Here’s my opening, here’s my deck. It’s all aligned. and with practice and familiarity with the material and with the evolution of myself as a, speaker, as an instructor, I’m becoming a lot better at at going off script and being holding that dual focus of myself and the other.

That’s also my understanding of speaking though it’s, not delivering a TED talk, so it’s more of the back and forth communication and more of the facilitation style back and forth. So I’ll have a key message, I’ll have a structure for it, but then very much building on the others in the audience. I think for my work, my audience finds that more meaningful and I find it more meaningful.

[00:27:34] Pam: Do you get nervous before you’re giving a talk?

[00:27:38] Sarah: Yes.

[00:27:40] Pam: Does it go away once you’ve started?

[00:27:43] Sarah: Yes. Usually. So it, it dissipates because I prepared but not prepared a script. But I’ve prepared what we’ve talked about, so we’re gonna have another session on how to, . Our tips and strategies for public speaking. But for this session, for this moment, I would say my preparation strategies, how I prepare my material, how I prepare my connection to the audience, and how I prepare myself, my own brain, my own nervous system, my own body before helps manage nerves. I think a little bit of nerves are normal.

[00:28:24] Pam: Yeah, of course.

[00:28:27] Sarah: You are saying something, you’re taking up time in somebody’s life, and time is, Val is precious,

[00:28:32] Pam: Yeah.

[00:28:33] Sarah: right? You’re saying, listen to me with your valuable time, spend time with me. And so you want, I want it to be a value

[00:28:43] Pam: Yeah.

[00:28:43] Sarah: for them. It’s normal to be nervous, but I don’t, I typically don’t feel super nervous because I, feel good about what I’m sharing.

I feel that it’s grounded in something helpful.

What about you?

[00:29:00] Pam: So usually when I have done public speaking, I’m definitely nervous before. I’m not nervous during, but I tend to be fast talker. I really, I do need to work on Connecting with what I’m saying and controlling that. But I go into autopilot and I just, present and then at the end, I’m really not sure what I said,

I think that’s pretty common.

[00:29:30] Sarah: yeah.

[00:29:30] Pam: it has always gone well. I get really good reviews on my talks, but, but yeah, I blank out and go into my presentation and at the end I’m like, , okay, how’d that go? One of the really hard things that came up for me reading this was my bias about

[00:29:52] Sarah: Hmm

[00:29:52] Pam: women’s voices.

[00:29:54] Sarah: hmm.

[00:29:55] Pam: I wanted to dig into that a little bit because this something that I’ve always had this, just extreme distaste for, like baby voices. It just, it really grates on me and I’ve, turned off podcasts that I wanted to listen to because of a female voice.

Sometimes it’s happened with male voices, but it has definitely happened much more frequently with female voices. And there’s a quote in the book, where, Samara says, “who among us has not chosen at one time or another to turn off a podcast with a female host because her voice was too distracting. I have.”

[00:30:34] Sarah: Mm mm-Hmm.

[00:30:36] Pam: And I thought that was really validating to hear this expert who is trying to tell us not to have all these biases and to not, um, judge voices simply based on pitch that she’s yes, this is something that we all do. this is an issue that is baked into society. It’s baked into everything that we do, and I’m a little bit conflicted about it because I, it, I’m not gonna stop disliking the way those voices sound, but I also wanna change my view about who has the right to speak and who should be on a microphone.

[00:31:19] Sarah: Yeah. and who can I learn from?

Who can you learn from? Because also maybe you’re missing out if there’s certain people whose voices you don’t, you’re resistant to listening to.

[00:31:33] Pam: Yeah. Do you have that issue? Do you, are there voices that turn you off?

[00:31:39] Sarah: Yeah. And I would say both genders. Because I don’t like when, for example, certain male podcast hosts who I, am imagining that they’re being patronizing, right? It’s all about what we’re imagining those voices to be. So certain male voices that I’m imagining to be patronizing, condescending, too much of a kind of bro inside joke.

[00:32:08] Pam: Yeah.

[00:32:09] Sarah: Lingo that I don’t, that I’m not a part of… immediate turnoff. I’m not interested. Maybe there’s something for me to learn, but I’m not gonna learn it because as you’re saying, rubbed me the wrong way, and I had a judgment around it, and then I shut it down. So I understand what you’re saying.

[00:32:30] Pam: Yeah, so as I’m sitting here thinking about it, I’m wondering if part of it is just exposure that I need to listen to more female voices because I do, the majority of the podcasts that I listen to are hosted by men. It’s probably 80% of the podcasts that I listen to are hosted by men.

[00:32:48] Sarah: I’m the opposite.

[00:32:50] Pam: interesting.

[00:32:50] Sarah: think. Yeah. Around 80% are women.

[00:32:54] Pam: I will work on that. I will listen to more female hosted podcasts and see if it’s just, just like listening to my own voice, if it’s just something that I need to do more and then it will impact me less.

[00:33:09] Sarah: And I think simply the noticing our own responses in a nonjudgmental way. Oh wow. I’m noticing that I’m resisting listening to this voice, and I’m noticing that I’m judging this person because of the sound of their voice,

[00:33:24] Pam: Yeah.

[00:33:27] Sarah: and that’s a normal human response, and it’s problematic. Ultimately if we’re judging and perpetuating biases and then limiting our acceptance, based on those biases.

So I think it’s human and I think it’s great to notice it, challenge it within ourselves and see what’s there.

[00:33:57] Pam: Yeah. I like the idea of framing it that, what am I missing out on because I’m saying no to this.

[00:34:05] Sarah: Yeah.

[00:34:06] Pam: Samara also talks about a 2019 New York Times piece by author Ruth Whitman. And the study concluded that women say they’re sorry more often than men,

[00:34:18] Sarah: Yep.

[00:34:19] Pam: but she said it’s because women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior. I loved this because

the, this is something that, that drives me crazy and I do it myself. you hear women do it constantly, that they’re immediately saying, oh, sorry, you know this. Or they start everything sorry. And you’re like, why are you sorry , you didn’t do anything wrong.

But the reframing here is that, Maybe we’re, just trying to be kinder and that we are, um, that we have this lower threshold for offensive behavior and we’re saying, sorry, not to say I’ve done something wrong, but to just be like, having a nicer society

[00:35:08] Sarah: Yeah. It’s acknowledging that you have in some way inconvenience somebody.

[00:35:13] Pam: Right. Yeah. So that was a really interesting kind of shift for me, Um, in reading that, just

[00:35:21] Sarah: Yeah. I. I enjoyed that too. Imagine me. I’m not only am I a woman, but I’m Canadian

[00:35:28] Pam: Yes.

[00:35:30] Sarah: We’re we come out of the womb apologizing so I certainly felt shame over my propensity to apologize. I’m aware and I have high emotional intelligence, so I am pretty aware of my impact and, I care. I don’t want to inconvenience someone so it can come out… I like the way she says it too. It’s, not, doesn’t necessarily mean the self-deprecating

oh my gosh, I’m worthless. Let me throw myself at your feet. It’s not always so dramatic, it’s just acknowledging that you have had an impact and you are aware of the other person’s emotions. yet it’s received by most people as self. I don’t know if self-deprecating is the right word. What am I looking for?


[00:36:29] Pam: self-sacrificing.

[00:36:30] Sarah: Self. Yeah, self-sacrificing, self-effacing kind of a word. So I’m aware of it and I have close friends who have left Canada for the US and will joke about the Canadian tendency to apologize and how Americans are, by and large, more comfortable just asking for things. Getting straight to the point, being more direct, not apologizing. So there’s that cultural dynamic and she’s not even Canadian and she still mentioned it.

Yeah, it’s an interesting reframe. There’s a lot of good reframes in the book. It makes you question a lot of assumptions, about a lot of things.

[00:37:13] Pam: yeah, and continuing on with that, the the reframe is that she warns us against assuming traditional male standards. So we think of saying sorry as something that’s wrong because it’s something women do primarily in, in the context that we’re speaking about. And,

[00:37:36] Sarah: Why isn’t it wrong that men never do it?

[00:37:38] Pam: And we think of lower pitch as the default and the more powerful and not using upspeak and all of these things that we consider to be more female traits. and then because of that, we think of those as things that we need to stop doing and to not incorporate in our speech because we default to the masculine standard as what is right. So we need to reframe that and stop thinking about the masculine standard being what is correct or right, or what we should aspire to.

in the book, she really talks about learning to use your voice. In myriad ways so you can lower your pitch, you can use more or less emotion. You can, um, increase your pitch.

You can use upseak or not. You can become fluid with all of these different ways of using your voice so that in the right circumstance, you can use your voice as a tool to achieve the purpose that you’re trying to achieve.

[00:38:50] Sarah: Yeah. It’s not that you have to become somebody else.

[00:38:54] Pam: Right.

[00:38:54] Sarah: Or you have to have your voice become a different voice than it is now. It’s that you can, because this is a learned, behavior. The way we speak is learn based on learned habits, and so you can challenge those habits. You can shine a light on them and say, do I want to shift some of these and do I wanna broaden my range so I can have a different impact that might be more empowering and more truthful? Might get my message across in a more truthful way. I found that this is going back to the emotions part, but it’s building on what you’re saying. I found that really enlightening around I. The fact that sometimes we, so when we’re flat lining, because we don’t wanna express our emotions because we feel that we’re in a less powerful position and we become more diminutive.

There’s often something within us, within the speaker that knows there’s another emotion, a deeper thing, a deeper truth, and there’s that stifling it down to be quote unquote professional and to not, shake the waters or ruffle the feathers. Just to… and so there’s a deeper knowledge or wisdom that’s being ignored in service of conforming.

I thought the way she described it was so beautiful, and so I think that’s really, worth questioning, , because then we’re not being honest about what something that we know, and maybe that honest nugget is the thing that’s gonna really connect with someone else, or the element that’s gonna really open up the conversation in a new way.

It’s, almost like you’re just half expressing yourself because you’re keeping so much of it under. Then I think about, that example of you to your boss and you’ve just blah And start bawling because that was all bubbling there and it’s really not surprising because I’m sure there was so many emotions in all the days and weeks and months before where you felt unhappy at work or undervalued or a number of ways that you felt that clearly caused you a lot of emotions that you kept at bay.

And then suddenly in that moment, they all trickled out or poured out.

[00:41:18] Pam: That’s interesting. We are so concerned with not expressing emotion and we’re so disconnected from it that it’s going to come out at some point. And so then it comes out in a way that you’re like, oh, that isn’t what I wanted.

[00:41:36] Sarah: Yeah. that happened!

[00:41:38] Pam: Whereas if we maybe got better at connecting with it on a regular basis and expressing ourselves more frequently when things are not catastrophic, then it would be much more productive and healthier, and the outcome would be much better.

[00:41:56] Sarah: yes. Actually a course that I’m in a, new leadership course that I’m taking. The session just the other day, the leader of this, the course, the facilitator, who’s a very well known, instructor in leadership training was talking about the importance of emotional intelligence in today’s landscape.

Essentially our, previous models of leadership just are no longer working for us. We have huge, massive challenges in the world, and in order to face those challenges, leaders really need to feel more connected to themselves and be able to name what’s happening internally. And he was saying that a recent study, conducted research on how many emotions people could name, and most people could only name three emotions. Three feelings that they have.

As a culture, we’re very much out of touch with our emotions, men and women, and that’s not a small thing. And our voice is one way that that, we see that. Our voice is one manifestation as explored in the book. And then there’s so many other elements too.

[00:43:11] Pam: There was one point where, Samara was talking about how leaders were judged based on how they spoke.

And they had, they did a study where they had people listen to a male and a female speak, and they gave them no information about the leaders. And they were just asked to judge them based on how they sounded, and they had them speak, the same kind of not non-emotional, Flat tones, And the woman was judged as being like a, good leader, but cold or something that.

[00:43:52] Sarah: Naturally.

[00:43:53] Pam: Yeah. And then when they had the female voice have more warmth, I think, than she was liked better, but then seen as less of a leader.

[00:44:02] Sarah: Mm-Hmm.

[00:44:03] Pam: Which I think we all know. But there was another reframe in the book that I really liked where The female who was, more warm in her delivery was seen as more compassionate and a team player. And, all of these things that we actually would want in a leader,

that does make a good leader. So this idea that we are, going after this ideal of the, non-emotional, disconnected, strong leader,

[00:44:40] Sarah: Super controlled.

[00:44:42] Pam: super controlled, right?

[00:44:43] Sarah: Yeah.

[00:44:45] Pam: it’s a false goal because what makes a good leader is not that. It is someone who is connected and compassionate and a team player and, able to emotionally connect with their team members. So I thought that was really interesting that this ideal that we have set up for ourselves is actually not a good goal.

[00:45:09] Sarah: Agreed. Yeah. Really agree.

[00:45:13] Pam: One of the things that I felt as I was reading most of the book was that everything felt like a trap. It was like, be more authentic, learn how to change your voice and be emotional, but not too, there’s all these things where it’s like you’re constantly having to walk a tightrope.

Yeah? And I think that is just an experience that a lot of people have, especially women, people of color. Like a lot of people have to walk that tightrope all the time when they’re communicating. but I think by the end, what I really came away with was That your voice is a tool and that what you’re doing is not inauthentic if you are learning how to use it differently in different situations, or if you’re learning how to harness your emotions to achieve a goal. It’s not inauthentic because goal. Is authentic what you, what your purpose is, authentic, and you are, you’re simply learning to use your, tools, and yourself as a full self

to achieve your purpose. So it’s not inauthentic. It’s not fake to learn to harness your emotion

to learn to direct it. Or to learn to speak slightly differently in different situations, that isn’t inauthentic. It’s not untrue to yourself.

[00:46:53] Sarah: Agree, it’s growth.

[00:46:54] Pam: Yeah.

[00:46:55] Sarah: you’re growing. Why is it, would it suddenly be inauthentic to become a runner when you could walk? You’re just doing, you’re, teaching your legs how to do something else.

[00:47:09] Pam: Yeah. but I, think there’s a lot of messages that we get, like we can talk about code switching that some people have to do, where, you know, when they’re at work, they have to speak a certain way, and then when they’re with their friends, they speak a different way. And there’s.

It’s loaded, right? There’s of baggage that comes with that. So when we’re talking about it in this sense,

don’t want it to sound like we’re saying, when you’re giving a speech, you need to change the way you’re speaking to be accepted by

the ones in power. Or that you need change your emotions or how about something or how you present yourself for their approval or for their reaction. That we’re saying you need to connect with your full self, which is going to include speaking differently in different circumstances. And that’s not unnatural. That’s not, performing for them.

It’s doing it for your purpose to get your point across and to achieve your goal.

[00:48:29] Sarah: Ultimately, that was my big takeaway from the book is that your voice is something to love and learning how to speak it with full emotion, with permission, with your belly hanging out. With. With acknowledgement that other tones and pitches are available to you and giving yourself a chance to practice those.

That is your voice. The gender you are, the particular background. You are the weight, the places where you’ve grown up, where you’ve lived, all the influences you’ve had, the friends, the schools, the family, the storytelling. That’s all created your voice, and I think the spirit of the book is to celebrate that.

Own it, love it. It’s yours. And at the same time, it’s a vehicle of expression that you can continue to evolve and grow and use, as you say, for your purposes, for your goals, for the life you wanna live. all in all, do you recommend the book?

[00:49:35] Pam: I do, I especially recommend the book if you do feel like you aren’t confident in your voice, or even if you’re in a friend group and you find that you don’t feel comfortable speaking up, saying your ideas, whatever it is, it doesn’t have to just be a professional situation if you just find that you don’t have confidence in your voice in any circumstance, whatever that is. I do think that this book will help with that. And I do think that there’s a lot of biases that we don’t even realize that we have that it calls out and that it was really eye-opening to confront.

[00:50:17] Sarah: Amazing. I second that recommendation. I highly recommend the book. Certainly for anyone working in a corporate setting, anyone in the workforce, there’s a lot of pressure to, on the one hand, speak up, be articulate, show our leadership skills, and then on the other hand, there’s a lot of baggage and stories, um, that, many of us carry around what the sound of our voice means, how likable it is, how compelling it is, and if we really have permission to use it. So I think the book offers a lot of really unique insights, practical tips, and a lot of really unique insights that, as you said earlier, could benefit just about anyone. So highly recommend it.

[00:51:07] Pam: Yep. And we’ll do a second episode with tips from the book on preparing for speaking, tools that you can use, and then some of our own as well.

[00:51:18] Sarah: Absolutely. She has a lot of great ideas for, preparing for a big speech, connecting with our bodies, connecting with our emotions, managing fear and anxiety. And then Pam and I also have some tips up our sleeve. So we’ll, combine all the suggestions and have a, juicy episode on tips for speaking.

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