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Here Are Tips On How To Speak Up At Work

Sometimes you may struggle to tap into that all-important confidence at work and feel like you’ve lost out on having your say because you kept quiet. But speaking up at work is an important part of your career development, and if done correctly can help people view you as a knowledgeable person. It can also help increase your sense of self-worth and stop ideas from churning around infinitely in your mind. So here’s our advice for how to speak up at work, and how to do it in the best way possible.

Find Something You Care About

Finding the things you’re passionate about and speaking up about them is the perfect way to find your voice at work. As an example, Cynthia Telles, of Kaiser Permanente, found her voice by getting behind a new company social health network, Thrive Local. Try to find something related to your work – is there something you can do to improve your company’s customer service? Or do you think there’s a charitable cause your company would be interested in backing? Talk to your manager or even a trusted colleague about your ideas. Even if initially it doesn’t go further, at least you’ve broken the ice by speaking up.

Offer To Cover A Meeting Agenda Point

If you have the tendency to sit silently in meetings, volunteering yourself to cover a particular agenda point will force you to speak out. Prepare what you’re going to say beforehand if you’re anxious, but don’t be afraid to express your opinion, even if it goes against the popular trend. If you work remotely, this could be a really important part of being recognized by colleagues, as otherwise people won’t have a face or a voice to place to your name. You might feel it went terribly, but the most important thing was that you gave it a start.

Praise People

If you’re struggling to come up with something to say in a meeting, become the people’s champion. Never underestimate the power of a kind word or getting behind people’s ideas. Mike Robbins, author and former professional baseball player, explains the power of appreciation in a TED talk. Even better is if you can go into detail about why you think the idea is so great. Person X, I love your idea because I think it really improves Y might seem like stating the obvious, but it will come across as genuine and really give people a boost. Think about what you’d like someone to say to you.

Fake It With Questions

You might feel like you don’t have all the answers, but asking the right questions is the perfect way to speak up. Seeming interested in what the other person is saying will automatically carry things forward (which is always appreciated in meetings) and will make people pay attention to you. If you’re not 100% confident in going into detail, don’t be afraid to keep things generic but relevant, like asking ‘How did you arrive there?’ about a new idea in a meeting. Maintain your interest in their response too to carry through the conversation.

Just Go For It

Are you too caught up in your own head? If you find your brain churning every time someone asks you a question, it might be better to say the first thing that pops into your mind. If you just get it out, you won’t have time to worry about what people think. At the very least, saying ‘I’m not sure, but will get back to you’ will give you some valuable time to get the cogs turning and come back with a concrete answer in a few minutes or hours, depending on how complex the question is. Worrying about what people think will hold you back from speaking up about something that could benefit you, and others around you.

Speak Up Outside Of Work

If you feel like something you have to say isn’t important, it might be a sign that you’re in need of some extracurricular activities to boost your confidence. Visit a convention about something you find interesting, start up a sport, learn a language or even start writing a novel. Adding that extra element to your day will gradually increase your confidence, your interest levels and ability to speak up at work. You definitely have something important to say, and establishing a good-work life balance is a good way to feel confident and in a better position to speak up.

Start A Public Speaking Course

Check out YouTube for some handy initial videos about public speaking. Just picking up some helpful hints might be the way forward for developing your speaking abilities. If you’re in need of some more structured development, why not embark on a public speaking course? You might hate it at first, but over time you’ll find you get less and less nervous at the notion of talking in front of an audience. The little things like talking to your manager will seem small once you’ve spoken out in front of many people.

Consider A Career Change

Maybe you don’t want to speak out because you’re not invested in your current role. If you aren’t able to make a big career change, why not invest in a side hustle like blogging to explore something new? You might develop a new network that you’re comfortable speaking to, and help you redefine your career goals. Sometimes all it takes is to change role, and that inspiration will give you increased confidence to speak out about something you care about. 

Speaking up doesn’t have to make you the loudest person in the room. Sometimes weighing in with initial interest, praise, or simply asking questions, is enough to give you a good reputation. If you’re not feeling passionate about your work, finding an element you care about or considering a career change might just give you the boost you need. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your voice isn’t heard, so here’s to you speaking up this 2020.

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