Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are desperate to jump in and say your piece, but instead, you stew in silence? If you can relate to this, you might have trouble speaking up. This is a serious issue. If you aren’t willing or able to speak up for yourself, rest assured that no one else will either. No concerns, issues, questions, or solutions you might have in your head will ever materialize if you can’t speak up at the right time. If you’d like to be the type of person who speaks up when their best interests are at stake, please consider these nine tips.
- Know What You Stand For
When you take the time to figure out what matters to you, you will be more likely to speak up on those interests. Knowing what’s important is a good way to figure out when you should speak up versus staying quiet.
- Be Ready
If you struggle speaking up, trying to wing it at the moment is going to be intimidating. Make sure you plan and prepare yourself in advance whenever possible. If you have a meeting you know you want to bring something up, then have all your talking points ready.
- Start Small
One of the only ways to get over an inability to speak up is to start doing it. It might be too intimidating to start on a grand scale, so try and start small. An example of starting small would be speaking up in a one-on-one situation.
- Write Down What You Want to Say
Some people are much better at writing their thoughts than verbally expressing them. While you can’t hand in a paper during a big work meeting, having your thoughts written down already will give you time to practice your delivery.
- Find An Early Opening
The longer you sit in silence, the harder it will be for you to speak up. You will give your mind too much time to create a bunch of excuses why you shouldn’t. Also, finding an early opening ensures you have the time to get your point across.
- Recognize It’s Hard but Worthwhile
It doesn’t help for you to pretend speaking up is easy. Acknowledge that it will be a challenge, but realize it will be worth it. Research into “Realistic Optimism” has shown that people are more likely to follow through if they expect a task to be challenging. https://hbr.org/2011/05/be-an-optimist-without-being-a
- Your Voice Deserves to Be Heard
You have a unique voice, outlook ad understanding of things. Your thoughts and opinions are important and valuable. If you can’t accept and believe this, you will never be able to speak up for yourself.
- Stop Worrying About Others’ Thoughts
It’s perfectly fine to consider other people’s feelings before you speak. However, it’s important not to go overboard. Don’t worry about everyone else agreeing with you or looking stupid. If you have something important to say, then say it.
- Learn the Art of Diplomacy
Sometimes it’s best to be as direct and blunt as possible. Other times, it can help you to be a bit more diplomatic. The less aggressive you have to be, the easier you will find it to speak up for yourself.