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STRONGER TOGETHER: Understanding the gravity of our voice and how we use it

Last updated: 26/07/2022
Women of IMPACT: From workplace wilderness to a career with purpose

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the power of our voice.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” This is a sentiment brought to light by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and it still rings true today.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Understanding how we use our voice – that is, what we say and to who - matters.

There’s no shortage of interactions we can have in a day. Regardless of the person or the setting, the common dominator in each of these interactions is you and how you chose to contribute to the conversation.

Knowing your own values and your boundaries will greatly inform how you speak and whether the conversation needs to change.

By not buying into conversations about people without them being present, we set ourselves up for more fulfilling interactions which can be uplifting and at the very least not demeaning of other people.

At IMPACT Community Services, we recently integrated the ‘No Triangles’ initiative, giving staff the authority and language to prevent gossip-type conversations and behaviour in the workplace. ‘No Triangles’ encourages staff to speak directly to the person in preference to raising the matter with someone else – an approach we believe can be a stepping stone to more proactive interactions.

In your daily life there are several different means to adopt a ‘No Triangles’ approach. You can opt to find common ground with someone. Rather than talking about someone, you steer the conversation away from an individual to a more general topic of mutual interest.

If a subtle approach isn’t working, you can be assertive, without being rude, that the conversation is making you uncomfortable and you would prefer to talk about something else.  

Being deliberate with our language and boundaries clearly sets our intentions and ensures that we are living in alignment with our values. It can be incredibly empowering, in addition to demonstrating strong moral fortitude, to not compromise your values for the sake of gossip.

You’re less likely to feel drained if you’re engaging in conversations that are delivered with compassion, with an intent to uplift without belittling someone else in the process. So, how will you be using your voice today?

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