Five ways to find your voice

How do you find your voice in the din of the marketplace? How do you use your craft to tell a familiar story in new, unexpected ways? How do you reconcile the desire to stand out with the pull of fame? These are some of the questions asked and answered in a beautiful performance documentary, “American Voices,” created and hosted by Renee Fleming and featuring “vocal masters and industry titans” as they coach and mentor “emerging artists” in sessions that are as inspiring as they are instructive.

Not an artist? Not to worry. You can still learn from the masters. Here are some tips to creating a voice worth listening to—at work, at home, in life.

1. Your voice is your brand. Does it reflect your best self? Make sure your vocal tone, your body language and self-expression communicate the persona you want to project.

2. Stop comparing yourself to how great you think somebody else is. That just makes you feel insignificant and unimportant. Instead, express yourself as truthfully as you can. That’s how you grow.

3. The last thing you want to be is generic. Assert your individuality and opinions without the need for external validation or approval.  (In other words, don’t muffle your voice in deference to others.)

4. Observe and learn from others, but create your own style--one that’s true to your own personal and professional values.

5. Never be the accompanist to the accompanist. (I love this.) Control your moment and the message and lead others where you want them to go.

Your voice is your instrument to make a difference in your world. However you use it, express yourself with art, skill and strength.

How will you use your voice today?