By Chris Koch - Lead Vocal Consultant in Sydney for The Voice Advisory
An agile organisation is responsive both to employee needs and to the needs of the business - not stuck in bottlenecks stuffed full of paper or ingrained behaviours. It’s flexible, can change direction quickly, and seeks to support productive employees who enjoy their work, their workplace and achieve the innovative, creative results the business needs. Most of us like ‘agile’, and the rest are getting used to ditching print-outs and having meetings standing up, because the benefits are evident.
A free, agile voice is like an agile workplace. It immediately responds to the needs of the audience. It’s free of ingrained unnecessary tension that limits resonance. It’s flexible, dexterously expresses nuance, changes strategy when necessary, and doesn’t silence itself. The free flow of sound is not stuck in our throats, but reaches our listeners without impediment. A neat metaphor, if you like.
So would an agile voice also serve an agile workplace? With such a strong metaphorical resonance between these two structures (an organization, and an individual’s body), surely the answer has to be a resounding ‘Yes!’ Healthy employee voice is obviously a key element in a truly agile workplace, which can’t function if the environment is one where no-one wants to speak up.
To free the voice for this sort of lithe behaviour, an holistic approach is needed which looks at permission, levels of employee satisfaction and comfort, leadership style within the business, the culture of speaking and listening, and organisational support for individual development. Critically, what must also be considered are the practical aspects of working with physical tension, nerves, confidence, personal habit change and their specific effects on the voice and the act of speaking.
As coaches, our background and training at The Voice Advisory is in the Linklater voice methodology, a remarkable progression of exercises which raises awareness of and releases unnecessary tensions that inhibit the voice. It provides in-detail support for nuance, flexibility, strength and range. Now, we’ve decided to augment the integrity of our voice coaching by creating and launching our proprietary Voice of Influence Survey, which will allow us to provide an end-to-end service for organisations, and address problems before they develop.
So, to free up our organisations to be genuinely agile, lets first free our voices.