Spontaneously voicing a clear, concise opinion can be intimidating. It’s like the universe suddenly shines a spotlight on you and says, ‘Go on, then. Sound smart.’
Some people live for these moments. It’s ok if that’s not you. But to to be a high-impact, thriving leader, you’ll need to find a way to be at peace with speaking up.
Here are my top 5 tips for speaking up:
- Tune into your true opinion. Don’t let your mind be overrun with thoughts of what the ‘correct’ opinion is or what everyone else thinks. Listen to the information at hand and trust your own knowledge.
- Don’t bother trying to impress people. It’s exhausting. Say what needs to be said in a straightforward way. There are no extra points for fancy words or phrasing. Brevity is the goal, but make sure you fully express your point.
- Notice your awesomeness. Smarts come in many forms. Some people are brilliantly verbal. Don’t let their form of brilliance devalue yours. Validate yourself constantly for your forms of brilliance.
- For work related matters, find your comfort zone. If you’re in accounting, say to yourself, ‘What is my view on this from an accounting perspective?’ If you’re in HR, give an HR perspective. This will help you feel less exposed – you’re not sharing a personal opinion, but a professional view.
- Form your thoughts. Jot down notes as meetings are underway, recording your questions, concerns, ideas and opinions. Make them brief. When it’s time to voice an opinion, quickly review them and identify the most salient points to say.
For tense personal conversations, it’s ok to give yourself room to breathe. Rather than responding quickly in the moment, go away and think through or write down your thoughts. You’ll be calmer and clearer. And less likely to say something you don’t mean.
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