communication skills

Projecting Your Voice as a Tech Product Manager by Lewis Lin

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?

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Yes, you have to project your voice as a product manager. Here’s why:

  1. If your audience can’t hear you, engineers and executives (E&Es) can’t understand your point of view.
  2. If they can’t understand your point of view, you can’t influence E&Es.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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