Are You Afraid to Raise Your Hand?

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On Friday my 5-year-old son came home from the library with a storybook I’d never heard of before: Raise Your Hand, by Alice Paul Tapper.



It’s a wonderful, autobiographical story about a little girl who is afraid to raise her hand in school for fear of being embarrassed if she gives the wrong answer in front of everyone… and more importantly, how she not only overcomes this fear, but inspires children – especially girls – across the country to be brave and raise their hands too.


As my son is preparing to start Kindergarten in a couple of weeks, I love that this book encourages him to be brave about speaking up in new environments.


But then two other things hit me.


First is that so many ADULTS I meet are STILL afraid to speak up in different environments, from work to community events, religious organizations or even hobby groups. And so much of it is due that not-so-little voice inside our heads – the inner critic – that tells us to keep quiet, or risk looking stupid in public and ruining your reputation forever.


Second, the author – Alice Paul Tapper – was named for Alice Paul, original Suffragist of the early 20th century who fought for the right for (then, initially white) women to vote along with Susan B. Anthony and many others. This is particularly timely as Thursday is Women’s Equality (Suffrage) Day.


Thanks to their original efforts and modern efforts like those by Miss Tapper, today ALL eligible women and men have the right to vote.


Which begs the question: Whether at the ballot box, in the conference room or just on video conference, do you let your voice be heard, or do you hold YOURSELF back?


Sometimes the hesitation is due to the topic at hand. For example, have you found yourself in situations where your opinion is asked about a sensitive topic and you feel yourself squirming in your chair as you try to find the right words so as not to offend the other party? When in a business/work context, how do you deliver difficult news to your stakeholders in a way that results in reaching a common goal?


In this week’s Speaking to Influence episode , Angela Liddle, president and CEO of the PA Family Support Alliance talks about how cautious communication in such situations strengthens relationships and creates hope over time.


The importance of hope cannot be overlooked, especially in her work with PFSA: Their oh-so-important mission is to put an end to child abuse, and allow all children to grow and thrive in safe and healthy environments.


During this conversation, Angela shares why speaking in small soundbites is mission-critical, how to “verbally thread the needle” for difficult conversations, and even how to navigate intercultural waters, such as when working with uniquely secluded religious groups such as the Amish community in central Pennsylvania.




You can listen to more of the conversation in the podcast here or watch it on YouTube.

Of course, once you’ve found the courage to raise your hand and speak up in any context, it’s important that your message lands as intended, which means you have to deliver it successfully. This is a reality all celebrities come to terms with early on — and now it’s your turn!

Remember:  I will be soon be speaking with my friend Julia Myles, producer, and podcast host, on the topic of “Mastering Your Celebrity Voice” to help you to enhance your brand. 


From August 30 through September 12, Julia will also be interviewing over 30 other top experts and influencers in her  FREE Be Your Own Business Celebrity summitwhere you can learn what it takes to become a true Business Celebrity and take your business to the next level.


Click here for your FREE pass to attend. 


But remember – regardless of your message OR your voice, if nobody hears it, it will never make an impact, so take the first step today,andRAISE YOUR HAND! 

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