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The 16 Voice Values in Action: What They Think, Do, and Say

by Abby Kerr

in Voice Values How-To

About this column

Your Right Person is listening. Learning to use your Voice Values ensures you’re speaking the same language. Create. Connect. Converse. (Convert.)

By now, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably taken our complementary Discover Your Voice Values self-assessment.

Haven’t taken it yet? 48 questions, about 10 minutes of your time, and you’ll self-score your way to clarity on what’s naturally powerful about the way you tweet, Facebook, write blog posts, and email your list.

You’ll also learn a bit about why certain people are drawn to you and what you should watch out for as you grow your brand.

Enter your best email address below and click Go to get started.

I thought it would be fun to provide a (sometimes humorous) rundown of what the 16 Voice Values think, do, and say in action. (If you’re curious about what my own top Voice Values are, I share them here.)

The scenario: You’ve just had a huge flash of an idea for your business. We’ll call it Idea X. Based on your Top 3-5 Voice Values (see below), you’ll probably respond like this . . .


THINKS: Wait a minute. Slow down. Let’s chart a course here. I don’t want to miss anything.

DOES: Opens your favorite of three mindmapping tools and begins a new project.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: Absolutely nothing — until all the details are sorted out, checked, double checked, and ready to go. Or: “Looking for resources around Idea X. Who else has information, studies, knowledge?”


THINKS: F*ck yes, this is it! This is bad ass. Can’t wait to launch this baby next week.

DOES: Immediately gets to work writing the sales page. The sooner you can get this baby up and out the door, the better.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “Coming VERY soon: possibly the very best idea I’ve ever had. It’ll rock your socks.”


THINKS: This is the beginning of something amazing. I need to fill in the details. It’ll be a while until I’m ready to go public with this.

DOES: Opens a fresh doc and starts typing like the wind. You need to write your way into knowing what you think.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “In process. In flow. Illuminating. Clarifying.”


THINKS: Ooh, my people would really come together around this! How can I get others involved? A forum? A Google Community? Small Mastermind groups that meet bi-weekly over Skype video?

DOES: Immediately Facebook messages your community sharing the idea in one line and requesting feedback.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “Would you be interested in working alongside your peers and colleagues around Idea X?”


THINKS: I’ve scratched the surface of something here. I wonder what else is beneath this idea.

DOES: Log the idea in a Google Doc (along with a hundred other ideas that have yet to be mined) and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing you can return to it as soon as more layers unearth themselves. And they will. They always do.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “Contemplating our relationship, as humans, to Idea X.”


THINKS: Oh my gosh, this is what I’m meant to do! This is the lightning bolt I’ve been waiting for! This is where my business is supposed to go.

DOES: Creates a new Pinterest board called “My Vision for Idea X.”

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “I dreamt a little dream, and it’s all coming together now. Stay tuned!”


THINKS: Perfect. Peeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrfeeeeeeeeeeeect.

DOES: Carefully outline the idea, making sure not to lose any of the details.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “On such-and-such a date –” [which you will hold yourself to or die trying] ” — “I’ll roll out the latest and greatest creation from My Business Name. If Idea X is important to you, you’ll want to pay attention.”


THINKS: Who could really use this?

DOES: Makes a list of people and businesses who could benefit from Idea X. Then creates a landing page with an email opt-in to get people on a list for when the idea is ready to go. It’s never too early to start letting people know a solution is coming!

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “If you’ve been challenged by Idea X, hang on. Relief is coming.”


THINKS: OhmyGodIhopeI’mthefirstonetoeverthinkofthis.

DOES: Immediately runs an advanced Google Search for Idea X plus all related ideas, to see what else is out there. You need to know how your solution can be different and better.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “You thought you knew everything there was to know about Idea X. Just wait.”


THINKS: This feels really right. It’s like it’s been there all along. How could I not have noticed this before?

DOES: Meditates. You need to be alone with this idea, so you can expand into it and really see inside it. Probably let it see inside of you, too.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “Spent time in stillness with Idea X today. Focus is knowing.”


THINKS: I wonder who else has done something like this before, and what I can learn from their work.

DOES: Thinks about how what you already know is connected to Idea X.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “If I were to create a new tool to help you create more Idea X in your life, what features would you want it to have?”


THINKS: Swoon. Every new idea feels like falling in love. It’s like I’ve entered into a courtship with Idea X.

DOES: Gets a little hot and bothered, thinking about how happy the people you want to serve will be when they receive this. Idea X is a gift, really.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “Working on a prezzie for my people. I love you so.”


THINKS: Wheeeeeeee! This is going to be so. much. FUN!”

DOES: Creates a graphic of it in PhotoShop or collages it on Polyvore to help you understand it better. The more visuals, the better.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “Oh my gosh, you guys, I can’t wait to share Idea X with you. You’re going to have a ball!”


THINKS: How can I quickly and confidently become a content authority on Idea X?

DOES: Hoard the idea and never mention it to anyone until you’re ready to go into pre-launch.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “It’s finally the right time to share my long-held expertise on Idea X with you.”


THINKS: This is a really valuable idea. I need to hold onto my edge here.

DOES: Checks the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site to see if Idea X is already claimed. Log the steps you’re taking to go about securing your claim to the idea.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: Absolutely nothing until you’re sure the idea is free and clear and yours for the taking. No sudden moves!


THINKS: Whoa. What an amazing opportunity to share my process with others.

DOES: Writes the first of a 20-part blog post series taking readers inside the workings of you creating and launching Idea X.

SAYS/TWEETS/FACEBOOKS: “An inside glimpse into the way I create and launch a great idea? Why, yes. I thought you’d enjoy that.”

Oh, you. What do you think?

In the comments, we’d love to hear:

Do your own top Voice Values in action resonate with you? Why or why not? How are you already drawing on your strongest Voice Values to help you shape a meaningful brand conversation with your Right People?

Looking forward to chatting with you!

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristy Lyseng December 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

YES! Innovation, Love and Depth resonate very much with me. Especially depth because I’m always coming up with ideas, writing them down and wanting to know more. But I don’t use google docs. I’m a fan of Springpad.


abby December 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hi, Kristy! Glad these resonate with you. Ooh, and I should have added, “Google Docs (or your favorite idea-capturing tool of choice).” :)


Susan Cadley December 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Omgosh…has the Voice Bureau been following me? :-)
I absolutely resonate with my top 3 voices, depth, helpfulness and intimacy, however I seem to get stuck on “the next step”~moving my ideas out into the world. I’ve been reading and learning much from The Bureau, thank you for sharing such valuable information.


abby December 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Hi, Susan! Thanks for being here. And, well, I don’t think we’ve been following you . . . or have we? ;)

Much more to come from us on the next step, but I will tell you this: it’s all about who needs what I offer? Who needs your solution, delivered in the way YOU deliver it?


Eve August 28, 2014 at 3:17 am

There’s a terrific amount of knloewdge in this article!


Susan Wilkinson December 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Hyyyysterical. I’m not sure what was funnier, the voices themselves in action or ~you~ doing the voices in my head. hahahaha! Great fun! Absolutely resonated with Depth, Clarity, Innovation and Excellence–except using Evernote instead of Google docs and the social media bits. Not ready for that just yet, but it’s close to what I would say if I was.


abby December 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Hee-hee! Glad you’re amused! This post got away from me as I was writing it and became something of a roast. ;)


tiffany han December 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Wait. Weren’t we *just* talking about enthusiasm? I’m definitely that with some audacity thrown in. Really. It’s like you took this straight from my twitter stream.


abby December 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Have you taken the assessment, Tiffany? I wouldn’t be surprised at ALL if Enthusiasm were in your Top 3. Would love to see if you’re right about Audacity, too! :)


tiffany han December 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Ok, that was fascinating. Not sure how I’d missed the assessment. I’m enthusiasm and helpfulness first, followed by innovation, playfulness and love. Makes perfect sense. ALSO, your descriptions are spot-on! I wish I’d had this 2 years ago!


abby December 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Sounds like YOU! Great to know this would have been valuable to you at the beginning of your branding journey. That’s my goal — to create a methodology to help people figure out what’s important to them in their messaging early on.


tiffany han December 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Well, keep it up! It’s working: also, it was interesting to see what I scored lowest on (clarity & accuracy) to see where I might be able to fill in some holes around the work I do and my messaging – I often get so caught up in the enthusiasm and the helpfulness and the omgtheworldneedsthisrightnow-ness of it all that I forget to vet things 100% and do lots of planning. It’s good and bad, but the awareness can’t hurt!


abby December 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Great way of looking at how these values balance each other, Tiffany.

The cool thing about the Voice Values is that as whole, well-integrated human beings, we ALL have access to each of the 16 — it’s just that we naturally, strongly, and consistently rely on a handful when we communicate and “show up.” Your lowest values are the ones that matter least to you, or are least activated at this point for you — not necessarily a weakness, though.


Andrea Lewicki December 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Hmmm…I think there’s an epiphany cloud forming. Good timing!


Abby Kerr December 18, 2012 at 9:36 am

Ooh, hope I get to hear about it!


Hannah Marcotti December 18, 2012 at 11:25 am

Quick guess that I am intimacy!!!!


Abby Kerr December 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I would TOTALLY guess that you are high in both Intimacy and Community. Maybe Love, too.


Corrina Gordon-Barnes December 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I took the test and came out highest on Enthusiasm, Love, Helpfulness and Innovation. Sweet! ;)


abby December 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Brilliant, Corrina! Thanks so much for sharing your results. Did these resonate with you? I see all of these in you.


Corrina Gordon-Barnes December 19, 2012 at 11:37 am

Yes, they certainly do resonate. I love “assessments” like this; they give words to what I know at some level and help me get more conscious about leveraging my natural strengths. Excellent – thank you.


abby December 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

Thanks, C!


Randi Buckley December 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Equal trinity of Depth, Intimacy and Audacity for me. But you knew that. xo


abby December 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Yes. And what a beautiful combo that is. xo


Elaine September 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Oh my gosh, I think this is what all the other comments have said already… But my top three core values are intimacy, legacy and helpfulness… (followed by a three-way tie of innovation, clarity and love)… And I am trying to bust out some content on certain pages of my website right now, and especially those first three voice values, had the EXACT Response to my struggles that you wrote on this post! So incredible! I have been mulling over your voice value assessment recently… And I have been wondering… Is there a way to tell, based on my own voice values, what types of people would be most attracted to my work, and my style/approach/personality/etc? Because it wouldn’t necessarily be people with the same core values as me… Would it? Would love your input :-)


Jennifer Wenzel February 23, 2014 at 6:38 pm

This is beautiful! I’ve just signed up for the assessment, but skimming through the 16 types, I will surely find that my results will include Clarity and Enthusiasm. Fantastic post, and concepts; can’t wait to delve further and discover more!


Abby Kerr February 24, 2014 at 10:13 am

Hi, Jennifer —

Ooh, do let me know what your signature mix (top 3-5) Voice Values are. Curious what your results will show!


Siri Chand April 20, 2014 at 9:45 am

i was tied for innovation, power, depth, excellence and helpfulness. Wondering is the work of core values is based on another body or work or just your observations in working with people. Amazing to go through the content the morning Thanks so much!!!


Abby Kerr April 21, 2014 at 11:08 am

You have a beautiful mix of Voice Values, Siri! Powerful.

The Voice Values work is my own creation based on what I see across clients, and as I’ve developed and methodologized it, I’ve made sure it aligns with many other systems and frameworks for understanding human behavior — everything from buyer types (in marketing), Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, and astrology.

Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm!


Siri Chand April 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

Really amazing – the amount of synthesis here. My astrology is gemini sun, scorpio moon and virgo rising. Myers Briggs ENFP and Enneagram – 3 with 4 wing (it is what it is) – maybe that helps your ongoing synthesis based on the voice values.

How much have you found that understanding the unconscious voice impacts our ability to shift expression? Or do we now just write with more awareness? Seems like we can not engage in self-evaluation and just write. Or – see what happens and hopefully not cringe when we understand more while engage in self-reflection and read old blog entries that are of more personal nature. I have stepped away from more personal entries this thus far for this reason. I imagine you have pondered many of these ideas in your quest to help people express and write.


Abby Kerr April 22, 2014 at 11:32 am

Thanks for that insider info on you, Siri. I’m continually amazed to see how everything aligns.

The impact of learning about one’s Voice Values is a bit different for every client. For some, it’s enough to become conscious of which values are at play in the way they communicate, and they unpack the possibilities for translating naturally into language quite easily and readily. Others need a deeper dive and more perspective. Our copywriting process supports this inquiry, as do some courses we’ll be releasing later in the year!


Linda Coussement June 14, 2014 at 4:17 am

This is great! I just did the self-assessment and used this blog to pinpoint the 5 values for me even further (Depth, Enthusiasm, Excellence, Helpfulness and Innovation). Of course the next best big idea has popped into my head because of it :)

I’m currently building my own online business and am slowly finding my own Voice’ in products, branding, writing and presence. I’m continuously amazed how many beautiful blogs and people are out there to share this with and get inspired by. Your blog is one of the them and I’ve found it at just the right time :)


Abby Kerr June 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Hey, Linda —

Welcome! I agree — the web is full of wonderful people doing wonderful things, and I’m honored that you’ve found your way here.

What a gorgeous mix of Voice Values you have. Excited to hear more about how you explore those within your own work in the weeks and months to come. :)


Shila June 16, 2015 at 9:56 am

I’m now obsessed with voice values! Your descriptions were eerily accurate and I totally saw my own behavior in depth, clarity, and security! Off to journal and reflect on that in a Google doc ;)


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