Recently I was asked:
How important it is for a product manager to project his or her voice at work in tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon?
Yes, you have to project your voice as a product manager. Here’s why:
- If your audience can’t hear you, engineers and executives (E&Es) can’t understand your point of view.
- If they can’t understand your point of view, you can’t influence E&Es.
- If you can’t influence E&Es, you can’t be an effective product manager.
If you’re not comfortable projecting your voice, try the following:
- Work on exercises to increase the volume of your voice. My presentation skills coach would have me say a phrase. Should would rate my volume from a scale of 1–10. Then she would say the same phrase and tell me that her volume is a 7 or 8, so I can calibrate my volume appropriately.
- Get comfortable speaking up. Sometimes projecting your voice is not just about volume. It’s about speaking up in a group where everyone is fighting for airtime. Here’s a game you can play to get more comfortable speaking up: at every meeting, set a goal of asking three questions. Questions are easier to ask in a crowded room (vs. making a statement). Do this enough, and you’ll find yourself more comfortable speaking up. You’ll also find that you’ll be more engaged in an otherwise boring meeting.
- Find alternative ways to make your point heard. Even if you’re not a master at projecting your voice in a room, you can make your point heard in countless number of alternative mediums including sharing your thoughts in email (no limit on how many you can send) or influencing others in a 1:1 scenario.s1