Tag Archives: 4 P’s

After Childbirth, Is Anything Possible?

My daughter recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It was a long labor and stressful delivery but thankfully all came out well in the end. She said it was the hardest but most incredible thing she ever accomplished.

Her experience brought me back to the birth of my own two daughters. Though being a new mom was challenging I can still feel the euphoria and kickass confidence that made me feel I could do anything.

On that same theme, I received an email from Charlotte, an introverted new mom in the Netherlands who told me how her own birth experience bridged to more confidence in the workplace. She wrote:

“Our group was split for many years between the sales team (typically extroverted individuals) and my team (more introverted) who do the actual compliance work. Very recently the two teams have merged. It is really interesting watching it unfold. Since I have had kids I find myself far more inclined to speak up and be braver in our meetings. Perhaps once you have been through child birth and exposed yourself to complete strangers and not caring because you are in so much pain, speaking up in a meeting does not seem so bad!!!”

It is all about perspective. Surviving those tough experiences does build confidence. In the 4 P’s Process in The Introverted Leader the third P is Push. Every successful introverted leader moves through challenges and develops their leadership strengths. They all say this is what helped them the most as their leadership careers progressed.

So maybe it wasn’t childbirth for you; but was there a pivotal life experience that was your confidence tipping point? You can email me at jennifer@jenniferkahnweiler.com or tweet me at jennkahnweiler.








Are You Using Your Full Voice? Support The Meaning and Message You Want To Convey


 It was a cold, rainy November evening. I didn’t want to leave my house for a professional meeting. But the buzz was strong enough to pull me towards the warmth of a new friend, the extroadinarily gifted Barbara McAfee, singer, songwriter, vocal coach, speaker and consultant. She presented a fun and enlightening program about how we can use our voices to truly express ourselves.

 I am more than thrilled that Barbara has written her first book called Full Voice: The Art and Practice of Vocal Presence (Berrett-Koehler, 2011). Please do make an investment in this insightful guide. Full of practical tips, it will help you use your voice to support the meaning and message you truly want to convey.

If you buy Full Voice on Oct. 5th through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Berrett-Koehler a donation will go to 50 Lanterns, an organization which provides solar lanterns to people in the developing world.
Recently Barbara was kind enough to respond to some of my questions about her important work. Check out her responses and video clip below.

Full Voice

 What inspired you to write this book?
In 20 years as a voice coach, I’ve witnessed firsthand how unlocking the power of the voice impacts people’s lives, work, relationships, health, self-awareness, and aliveness. My clients tell me that the way I present the voice is memorable, pragmatic, and fun – and unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.


What is the main message you hope readers will take away?


Your voice matters more than you think. What you say and how you say it needs to be congruent in order for people to “hear” you. It’s possible to expand the range, flexibility, and ease with which you speak. When you change your voice for the better, other aspects of your life change right along with it. Learning to pay attention to your own voice makes you a more skillful listener as well.


What are the top 3 mistakes people make with their voice? 


First – Not paying attention to the voice at all. People often spend a lot of time preparing what they’re going to say without practicing how best to say it.


Second – Relying too much on the throat alone. The voice is most effective and interesting to listen to when it’s connected to your vital physical energy.


Third – Getting stuck in one vocal sound in all circumstances. Various situations demand different tones of voice. We have many more vocal choices than we imagine possible. Most of us never get a chance to discover what they are and learn how to use them in our everyday lives.


Many introverts say they are uncomfortable speaking loudly, yet they’re often told they need to “speak up.” 

I’ve worked with many introverted leaders over the years. I always tell them that outward expression will always be a “second language” to them. Even so, it is possible to become quite conversant in that language with practice. We use characters – such as Luciano Pavarotti or Martin Luther King, Jr. – to help introverts open up more power in their voices. Once they get used to the feeling of being louder and more present, we work to integrate those sounds into their everyday communication.


Can you describe the Five Elements and how it can be applied?


The Five Elements Framework breaks the voice into five distinct colors, much like a prism creates a rainbow out of sunlight. The elements are Earth, Fire, Water, Metal, and Air. Each one is sourced in a specific place in the body and expresses certain qualities. For example, the Fire Voice is sourced in the belly and is useful for expressing passion, personal power, and physical vitality. The Water Voice is sourced in the throat and heart and is useful for expressing caring, compassion, and affirmation. The framework allows people to choose the right voice to effectively communicate their message.


What do you mean by “vocal presence with awareness?”


Vocal presence is the state where your words, facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, emotions, imagination, and spirit are all fully engaged and congruent in conveying your message. The way to cultivate vocal presence is through awareness – paying attention to where your voice is coming from, how it sounds, and whether it matches up with your message. As your awareness of your own voice increases, it makes you listen with more accuracy and insight.

Click here to watch a short video about Full Voice.

Learn more about what full voice means on Barbara’s blog.

Overcoming Performance Anxiety for Introverts

David, a manager at a global publishing company was kind enough to write me and share the approach he took to overcoming his performance anxiety.  He wrote: ” I am considered an introvert and I am transitioning to a leadership role,” he said.

“……The ironic thing for me is that my position requires a lot of public speaking, training and facilitating in meetings. I will say that it can be very draining, and very often I will withdraw from the public for hours or the rest of the day after long meetings or training sessions. I dine alone or take two-hour naps to recharge.

The public speaking aspects, as well as the internal and external customer interactions that I am “forced” to do, are not so problematic for me now because I  a musician, and have for much of my life focused on solo piano. There is nothing quite as nerve-racking as walking up to the stage to expose your every weakness, physical and mental, before an audience who is all too familiar with the repertoire. You think you will make a mistake, then you do, and everybody knows when it happened. It often looms larger in the performer’s mind than it does with the audience, and so it eats away at you. The small mistakes can make you that much more nervous during your next performance. “

Here is how David said he overcome that challenge: “One of the things I tried to do was to put more focus on the energy or the spirit of the performance, to focus on the performance itself and not the technical aspects of the piece. In this way, someone might say, “oh, it’s a shame you didn’t nail such-and-such a section”; however, they cannot take away from the energy or the emotion of the performance. This makes a performance satisfying to both audience and performer.”

And he continued, ” Besides all that, it makes public speaking a breeze! I always go into a meeting or a training room with the idea that talking is easier than playing Liszt. I have placed my mindset in advance so I can methodically make presentations and “improvise” as necessary. This way, public speaking becomes like playing and I am never nervous.”

David’s parting words? “My advice for people with public speaking fears is to go out and take some piano lessons, with the goal of performing a piece in a group recital after a year or so. These things are typically arranged by studio teachers and are great for inviting family and friends. Not only does one benefit from learning a new language, but one also benefits from the trial-by-fire performance of a Mozart trifle, missing some notes, then moving on with life and getting better.”

Thank you, David. Let’s see if anyone takes you up on your suggestion. Playing an instrument also helps your brain cells multiply so it sounds like a good suggestion all around.