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Live Out Loud - that’s the title of a new book written by Rona Steinberg, one of Ginger’s expert and much-loved public speaking trainers.
Aimed at women of all ages and backgrounds, the book is all about embracing deeply authentic self-expression, particularly when you are fearful about being visible.
As ‘P DAY’ fast approaches, we caught up with Rona to tell us more about living Out Loud and to share her experience of writing and publishing her first non-fiction book, which goes on sale on 24 June.
It’s an intimate and open-hearted exploration of what it takes to be fully and unequivocally Out Loud. Through a combination of storytelling and discussion, I take an honest look at how we all show up in the world and open a space for anyone to recognise where they may be holding back so they can be themselves with more ease.
I actually think my book will be helpful to everyone because there’s probably always going to be a moment when we hold back on ourselves.
But mainly it’s for the Out Loud woman who’s started to realise she’s never fully expressed her true self, the person that deep down she knows herself to be. Perhaps she struggles to feel worthy and good enough due to feeling ignored, overlooked or invisible because of her age, outward appearance or what she perceives to be her lack of confidence.
She wants to be more Out Loud but also feels she doesn’t entirely fit in. Even though she’s developed strategies to mask that sense of unease, she still yearns to feel more comfortable about herself as well as more self-accepting, authentic and real.
Although the Out Loud woman may be doing well in her work, business or in life generally, she knows that if she’s ever going to reach the next level in her career or be more herself in her personal life, she needs to stand out more and be willing to take on more responsibility. Above all, she longs to be able to show up fully in the world as herself, without feeling she needs to turn the volume down – or up – on who she really is.
Ever since I hit on the Out Loud niche for my coaching practice, I have explored what it means to be Out Loud for myself, my clients and for the world generally. The term living Out Loud seemed to resonate with people who instinctively understood its message and also recognised me as someone who lives Out Loud.
The only thing was, my journey towards becoming truly Out Loud as opposed to superficially so, has been something I have struggled with hugely in my life. I wanted to write the book as an honest and truthful account of that struggle from someone who, on the face of it, may look very confident but understands how hard it is to stand and stay in the spotlight both literally and metaphorically. So, the format of the book is a combination of self-help and memoir and I hope it will be helpful to anyone who faces the same struggles as me.
Have you got all day? While it’s been really fulfilling writing the book, there have been so many challenges. First, there was the what to write and how. Then, because there are so many personal stories in there, the fear of revealing too much. Then the feeling I wasn’t revealing enough, closely followed by thinking I shouldn’t be making it so introspective and I should get some facts and figures in there sharpish so I would be taken seriously.
As it got nearer to being published, there was the horrible realisation that people might actually read the book and judge me for it - not just people I know but also people I don’t know. All the judgement, the potential reviews, the thought that people might think me ridiculous, or shallow, or with nothing new to say, and on and on and on…..
PS…Conversely, I was also worried that the book might prove to be a success! I know that might sound a bit strange but in my skewed logic, I reasoned that would mean even more stepping up and more visibility.
As each new fear surfaced, I always felt like running away and hiding, telling myself I’ve had a good go and there’s no shame in stopping - which I know from experience is my fearful self doing a number on me. But somehow, I’ve kept going. What particularly helped me was the awareness of being frightened (development of your own awareness is key to being Out Loud and something I cover in detail in the book), and then knowing I needed some help. My ‘go to’ has been my brilliant writing coach, who manages to tame my scary dragon by listening to me and taking me seriously. What’s also helped hugely, has been being Out Loud about my fears. Going on social media, writing blogs and saying what’s going on for me has been a great way to get support from my friends and followers. It also normalises and neutralises my own anxieties because my fear posts always seem to resonate a lot with others.
One of the keys to living Out Loud is being fully self-expressed and there is no better way to express yourself than through the spoken word. Public speaking is possibly the ultimate Out Loud expression because standing ‘naked’ before an audience in a meeting, presentation or conference can be so challenging for many people. There’s nothing more searching than a spotlight with all eyes on you.
The thing is though, many people, especially in the workplace (and particularly in the corporate or professional sectors), believe that showing your fear at that precise moment is shameful and exposing. So people either hide behind a mask of professional competence (which isn’t very authentic or compelling) or avoid speaking altogether in an attempt to cover up what’s really going on.
With the Finding Your Voice programme specifically (and with Ginger generally), we help people not only get familiar, comfortable and excited about expressing their true selves but also understand how important that is. How their own authenticity is key to their leadership and creating trust and engagement with their audience. The programme enables the participants to access their distinctive voice and what they want to make a stand for, and to realise it’s worthy and in service of others. This realisation is not only the easiest and best way to get over your own nerves, but is exactly what’s needed– both in the workplace and in the world. In the book, I write a lot about understanding why you want to be Out Loud so that you know why you're choosing to say something and its purpose; this is central to the work we do at Ginger around Purpose and Vision and is critical for deeply understanding your message and being able to powerfully communicate it to the audience.
Live Out Loud is available on Amazon from 24 June or from Rona’s website www.outloudcoaching.com
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