On Monday 24th of May, the unique Be Heard platform was launched with an empowering and uplifting online event, entitled ‘Speak up to Level up: Your one way ticket out of your comfort zone’. During the 45 minute event, Be Heard founder and creator Simone Roche MBE was joined by the Be Heard ambassadors, Michelle Jones (Founder of Kind Currency CIC and Owner of Michelle Jones Weddings), Ngunan Adamu (Producer and Presenter for BBC Radio Merseyside, and Founder and CEO of iWoman Academy), and Advita Patel (Founder of CommsRebel and Co-Founder of A Leader Like Me).
Each with varying experiences of speaking in public and across the media, the ambassadors were able to give authentic advice to viewers who are ready to take the first brave step out of their comfort zone, and use their voice to level up their life and our media industry. The three ambassadors emphasised how speaking in the media and at events had had transformative effects on their lives, and encouraged listeners to seek out those opportunities that will lead to personal growth.
For those who want to seek out these opportunities, but don’t know where to begin, the Be Heard ambassadors offered viewers some great advice for taking those first steps into utilizing platforms and finding your voice. Advita recommended creating your own platform in cases where you can’t see an existing way to champion your own voice. She said “we’re in 2021 and in the last 5 years social media has really grown. Put yourself out there, write a blog, write a guest blog, if you like what they’re about and if they align with your values”. If the prospect of writing a blog is still too daunting, you can start smaller still. As Advita suggested, you can even start by just commenting “on the linkedin posts of people that you really respect and contribute to the conversation. Nobody is going to come knocking on your door if they don’t know you exist […] maybe write some tweets, do an insta story, find where your people hang out and where you want to be seen”. Ngunan echoed this idea, saying how social media is the perfect place for people to dip their toe into the water and to refine their voice. “I always say if you do something that you’re passionate about, share it on social media and tag people so they can see what you’re passionate about. That’s how things start. You just need to pick up the momentum and keep going”.
By taking these small steps to curate your tone and your unique voice, not only will you be expanding your own comfort zone, you will be amplifying the voices of all those who identify with you and your story. Michelle Jones spoke of how it was the voices of others who inspired her to take up platforms and be a visible example to others: “I wouldn’t have got through this journey without listening to other people […] there are other individuals out there that are struggling, so if I stand up and share my experiences hopefully other people will think “Yes, I can do that”. And while we can’t all be the next Oprah Winfrey and touch millions with our messages of positivity and visibility, this shouldn’t undermine our attempts to inspire the few. As Michelle summarised, “you might not think that your voice is worth being heard, but even if it’s just one person, that one person is so important”. This was similarly echoed by Advita Patel, who spoke of the knock-on effect of representation and visibility. “Representation matters”, she said, “and if you don’t see people like yourself speaking, then how can you inspire the people watching you and the future generations who come from the same background as you”.
After hearing such inspiring and motivating words, you may be thinking what you can do next to use your voice, level up, and expand your comfort zone. By signing up as a Be Heard speaker who will have taken your first concrete step towards not only your future self, but also a more authentic and representative media industry. Now is your time. “The world is ready to listen”, added Ngunan Adamu, “which is why it’s so important that we have Be Heard. You don’t have to be a CEO, you don’t have to be a founder, you don’t have to be an exec. As long as you’re in a position where you have something to say, we’re ready to listen”. As the platform founder Simone Roche MBE summarised, “we want to join the dots between what you want to say and the people who are going to hear it. Everybody has a story that needs telling. We want to enable your voice to Be Heard”.