Nearly three quarters of American women – and over a half of British women – believe that at work, their voices aren't treated as seriously as a man's. This sad state of affairs was the impetus for this book and for the title, "Hear and Now". Clearly a problem of such magnitude needs solving urgently. It's damaging to those involved and damaging to the greater economy. 

In this book you will learn how to tackle the dictatorial and overbearing communication style that’s become the corporate norm. You’ll be able to create a happier and more productive working environment, based on greater collaboration, arising from better relationships and a greater level of trust.  

There are too few female role models for modern businesswomen to follow.

This book will help you become one.

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‘Hear And Now’ is an enlightening read and provides practical advice which is easy to realise. I welcome this authoritative work which provides timely input to an essential genre of books.
— The Rt Hon. the Baroness Chalker of Wallasey
I have been representing women in the workplace for almost 20 years and had the good fortune to attend a sneak preview of ‘Hear and Now’. Chris Davidson ran a fabulous workshop. Even though I am a confident presenter, I learnt some really great new techniques. This book is brimming with comprehensive and easy to follow advice and will lead you through practical, yet inspirational steps to finding your own confident voice.

Chris Davidson’s experience as an award winning author, inspirational speaker and communications expert shines through each chapter ensuring that this is an enjoyable as well as educational read.
— Wendy Bowers, Ambassador for Women's Enterprise, British Chambers of Commerce
‘Hear And Now’ is a grounded ‘how-to’ guide, clearly written by Chris Davidson, who I can safely say knows his onions. It gives helpful background on two very different ways of communicating - and then cuts to the chase with practical advice and exercises that are effective and easy to implement. A most refreshing and welcome primer for all of us women navigating a man’s world.
— Chantal Coady OBE, Rococo Chocolates
Filled with great advice and wonderful practical tips to help you excel with your presentations and communication
— Lesley Cowley OBE
An accessible and enlightening read which really sheds light on why some discussions just don’t quite end up the way you hoped they would! A refreshingly practical and engaging guide to understanding not only what you can do to communicate for success but importantly HOW to get there.
— Christine Petrou, Operations Director, Active Business Communications Ltd
‘Hear And Now’ is refreshingly free of pyschobabble - it’s packed full of practical actions that are easy to implement immediately to get yourself heard in the workplace. It’s a wonderful short-cut through the myriad of misunderstandings and unconscious behaviours that I’ve taken years to weed out myself – sometimes through painful, trial and error. I also learned a stack of new tricks that will definitely improve the way I make myself heard in future.
— Isabel Kelly, Founder, Profit with Purpose Ltd and Practitioner in Residence, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, University of Oxford
‘Hear And Now’ is a must read book for women working in the corporate field. It’s very explicit, and is easy to follow and understand. With the right vocal exercises and guidance, it is amazing how communication skills can improve. A fantastic book for every modern woman!
— Martine Balzani, Marketing Director, Peter Pan Bike International

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Preview:

Hear and Now

How Women Get Heard More at Work and Why It Matters

 

By Chris Davidson

© C S Davidson 2015

Published by Active Presence Limited

 

 

 

Why this book and why now 

 

“It’s time to cheer on the girls and women who want to sit at the table.” 

– Sheryl Sandberg 

 

Nearly three quarters of American women – and over a half of British women – believe that at work, their voices aren’t treated as seriously as a man’s. This sad state of affairs was the impetus for this book and the title, “Hear and Now”. Clearly a problem of such magnitude needs solving urgently. It’s damaging to those involved and damaging to the greater economy. There isn’t much that’s positive about this, other than the comfort of knowing you’re not alone! 

Unfortunately, there are (still) too few companies with too few women in senior executive positions (board level or just under). Within the past decade workplace communication, particularly between managers and employees, has become more domineering and much less collaborative than it used to be. It’s almost as if it’s had a huge – and unnecessary – injection of testosterone. 

There are too few female role models for modern businesswomen to follow. This book will help you become one by giving you an experience that’s inspiring, useful and unique – a combination of style, substance and structure you won’t find anywhere else. 

In her book “Lean In”, Sheryl Sandberg calls for women in all occupations to “lean in” to their careers. She wants women to “…sit at the table…” and encourages her readers to recognise what’s holding them back. 

Demonstrating exceptional communication skills is critical for those who want to “sit at the table” – and that’s precisely why this book zeros in on communication as a vehicle for progressing the career path for women in the corporate marketplace. 

In this book you will learn how to tackle the dictatorial and overbearing communication style that’s become the corporate norm. You’ll be able to create a happier and more productive working environment, based on greater collaboration, arising from better relationships and a greater level of trust. As with all life skills, some people are blessed by nature more than others, and the same is true for everyone’s inherent communication skills. However, whatever your starting point, everyone can improve. Let me give you an example. 

Sasha was a young woman who came to see me in my studio many years ago. Her ambition was to be a teacher overseas. Unfortunately it was unlikely to be realised as Sasha was painfully shy when it came to speaking in front of groups – a fundamental life-skill for a teacher. The stage in my studio measures 15ft x 5ft (approximately 4.5m x 1.5m). For Sasha, even standing on that stage with no one else in the room but the pair of us was a major trial. The idea of speaking from the stage was as far away as flying to the moon. It was a challenging session for both of us. Sasha so desperately wanted to succeed and I was rapidly using up every tool in my toolbox. We weren’t making much progress. For some unknown reason, I asked Sasha whether she liked music. 

“Oh yes”, came the reply. “I play the flute.” 

It was as if the clouds parted and the sun shone through, warming the stage and giving us renewed energy. 

“Wonderful” I said. “I’m a singer – let’s do some duetting. You just start humming anything you like – I’ll throw in some harmonies and we’ll see what happens.” 

The mood of despair lifted, soon to be replaced by smiles, joy – and most importantly – sound. Sasha was standing on a stage, making sound. The humming became singing, the singing became speaking, the speaking was honed into a skill. Here’s the email I got from Sasha later that year. 

Dear Chris, 

I just want to say, if it wasn’t for the help you gave me over the summer and the confidence you inspired I would not have been able to teach, let alone present at an academic conference. 

Thank you. 

Sasha – Teacher (Canada) 

Sometimes, wonderful things happen. There needs to be a will and a way. 

If you have the will, this book will give you the way.


Contents

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Foreword

Why this book and why now

Preface

Suggestions for how to get the most from this book



 

PART A: GETTING YOURSELF TOGETHER

1 Conquer your nerves

1.1 Why do people feel nervous?

1.2 How nerves affect your voice 

1.3 How to use breathing to control your nerves 

1.4 How to avoid advertising excessive nerves
 

2 Have the voice you've always wanted

2.1 How speech is made

2.2 Why men have deeper voices

2.3 Why women’s voices can carry further than men’s 

2.4 Voices that are always heard have lots of ‘twang’ 

2.5 How to find and develop your natural twang

2.6 How to develop an appealing voice that people understand 

 

PART B: GETTING YOUR STUFF TOGETHER  

3 How the brain remembers

3.1 Sensory memory

3.2 Working memory

3.3 Long-term memory
 

4 Stories and communication models 

4.1 Illustrate your presentation with stories 

4.2 Don’t copy politicians

4.3 Don’t copy men either!

4.4 Male and female communication models

4.5 Make an emotional connection

4.6 Use stories to join the dots

4.7 Different story types

 

5 How to structure your presentation

5.1 Presentations are the foundation of workplace communications

5.2 The five point presentation structure

5.3 Additional extras

 

6 Communications other than presentations

6.1 Networking

6.2 Social media  

6.3 Office meetings (e.g. team meetings)  

6.4 Teleconferences and video conferences  

6.5 Web conferences  

6.6 Status update meetings  

6.7 Instant messenger applications  

 

PART C: GETTING IT ALL TOGETHER  

7 Polish your performance  

7.1 Winging it won’t work  

7.2 How to create an integrated performance  

7.3 Body language  

7.4 Make eye contact  

7.5 Use your hands skilfully  

7.6 Remember that your left is their right  

7.7 Don’t get hung up on feedback  

 

8 Use the technology wisely  

8.1 Map out your presentation on paper first  

8.2 The difference between slides and handouts  

8.3 Create simple graphics  

8.4 Use a remote clicker  

8.5 Master the microphone  

 

9 Practical wardrobe tips for stage and studio  

9.1 On stage  

9.2 In a recording studio  

9.3 Dressing for TV  

 

Closing comments for open minds: Maximise your natural talent  

 

APPENDICIES  

A. Success Summaries  

B. Survey Results  

C. Further Reading  

D. Additional Notes on Gender  

About the author  

Acknowledgements 

 

Figures and exercises 

Figure 1: Female and Male Communication Modes  

Figure 2: Improve Your Overall Communications Performance  

Figure 3: Inhalation and Exhalation

Figure 4: The Location of the Larynx

Figure 5: The 'Adam's Apple'

Figure 6: Rear View of the Larynx

Figure 7: Memory Linkage

Figure 8: Predicting Individual Behaviour

Figure 9: Business Presentation Structure  

Figure 10: Creating Pseudo Animations

Figure 11: Example of Weak Posture

Figure 12: Stable Pose  

Figure 13: Palms Up

Figure 14: Palms Down

Figure 15: How to Make a Point

Figure 16: A Typical Headset Microphone

Figure 17: Typical Transmitter/Battery Pack

Figure 18: Women in FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 Companies  

Figure 19: Comparison of Women Directorships in FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 Companies  

Figure 20: Workplace Communication Challenges  

Figure 21: Perceived Usefulness of the Book's Contents

Exercise: The Diaphragm Muscle  

Exercise: Fully Utilising Lung Capacity  

Exercise: Finding Your Larynx  

Exercise: Preparing for Twang  

Exercise: Accessing Your Twang  

Exercise: Speech Rate Test  

Exercise: Improving Diction

 

Body Language Example

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Use your hands skilfully

Palms up – a non-threatening gesture, inviting engagement

 

Palms down – closing off comments and moving on to the next topic

 

Pointing into your own hand – punching the message home, without isolating particular individual

 

Why should you believe a bloke? 

Fair question. For a man to write a book on how women communicate at work is unusual – maybe daring and possibly reckless. It might seem a bit cheeky. If I don't want you to 'do it like a dude', what gives me the right to think I can help you? 

I’ve been making a living helping men and women express themselves better for more than a decade. In that time I’ve helped countless female clients face-to-face, none of whom has rejected any of my advice based on the difference between our genders. 

As much of this book is based on science, the gender of the author shouldn't really be significant. The physics you learned at school didn’t change with the teacher’s gender. The science works the way the science works. For example it's a scientific fact that women's voices are different from men's. The question is, what to do about it?

Expertise is independent of gender. For example, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani – all men – have made huge contributions to women's fashion. Baroness Brady CBE, Shelley Kerr, Margaret Byrne and Katrien Meire – all women – have made huge contributions to men’s football (soccer). 

 

Lets Get To It

GET HEARD MORE AT WORK