We all deserve to be heard but our inner critic can stop us from sharing our voice, says Toria Bono.

I often get asked to go on podcasts, speak at events or write for magazines (just like this one!) and I often say no. In the case of this article, I emailed Kat with things such as ‘I can’t think of anything to write’ when actually my inner voice was crying ‘Who do you think you are to contribute to such a magazine? You know nothing!’

Overcoming your inner critic

Funnily enough, it was that inner voice – which in my case is more of an inner critic/saboteur – that created Tiny Voice Talks on Twitter. I wanted others to overcome their internal judge and have their voice heard. I just didn’t want mine heard in the process.

I think that my inner critic was born early on, as I remember it telling me that I wasn’t a great artist and should definitely give up tennis. I teach Year 4 children and see them ravaged by their inner voices at times – the other day, one child was in pieces as he felt that his art was not as good as his peers’. In my opinion it was, but I wasn’t the voice in his head.

How often have you laid awake at night listening to that voice?
How often have you doubted your ability based on that voice?
How often have you kept quiet because your inner voice told you to?

As a teacher, I observe children acting and reacting to their inner voices all the time. If you are a teacher, parent, aunt, uncle or just know little people, I am sure that you have also observed the way they can be paralysed by internal critique. I am sure that you have felt frustrated, as I have, that they have listened to it, and yet we do the same.

How often have you sat in that meeting with a wonderful idea and yet said nothing? Why? What were you afraid of?

We all want to be heard

Tiny Voice Talks started because I wanted to give the quieter voices a platform to be heard and yet I still doubt my own voice. In case you aren’t sure what #TinyVoiceTalks is, it started in 2020 with a hashtag on Tuesdays that enabled people to have their voice heard. It was so successful that in August 2020, a podcast of the same name began. Both continue today. Why? Because we all deserve to have our voice heard!

Recently, on Tiny Voice Talks podcast, I spoke to Ellise Holly Hayward, who has cerebral palsy. She speaks with the aid of an eye gaze machine and has the most perfect ‘queen’s voice’. Raising her voice is probably my proudest achievement to date. She has a powerful message, and we need to hear it. She told us that even though she may not have had a voice in primary school, she wanted to be heard. Isn’t that what we all want – to be heard?!

Using your voice

Recently, I started an ILP level 5 in coaching and the key message was: listen. How often do we actively listen? By that, I mean quiet our responses and listen to what we are being told. Listening is hard! Communication is a fundamentally tricky business.

So, my mission to you before we connect next time is this:

  1. Have your voice heard.
  2.  Listen to the voice of others.
  3. Connect with #TinyVoiceTalks!!


  • Toria Bono

    Toria Bono is a teacher who has worked in a variety of educational roles over the past 20 years and is a fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. Toria is also the founder and owner of ‘Tiny Voice Talks’ which includes a podcast, a book and a Twitter space for educators to find their voice and connect with others.
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