Finding Your Voice At Work – Don’t Squeak By, Roar!
When it’s time to make your thoughts known in the workplace, do you clam up? Are others always interrupting or talking over you? If so, maybe, self-confidence isn’t your strong suit… yet. ?
Are you shy by nature, fear confrontation, or just like to make sure you’ve dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” before making your thoughts known? If any of those apply, it’s safe to say voicing your thoughts in the workplace is something you struggle with.
First things first, you are not alone. Everyone has to learn how to deal with that co-worker who talks over them or refuses to take them seriously. Or, if just the thought of saying something someone (especially the boss!) disagrees with causes you to shrink in your chair, take a deep breath and read on.
When Joel Garfinkle, Executive Coach, was interviewed by Fortune Magazine’s Dear Annie, he shared some great ways to begin to build self-confidence and ready yourself for vocal participation at the next meeting. We’ve summarized:
- Don’t sell yourself short. You know your stuff and have something of worth to contribute. Believe that!
- Don’t give self-doubt the upper hand. Make sure you say something within the first 10 minutes of the meeting. The longer you wait, the harder it gets not to sink into your shell.
- Pick a topic, any topic. If the agenda is passed out ahead of time, choose one of the topics and form your thoughts about it. Then, add at least one of them to the conversation at the table.
- Did you know asking a question is the easiest way to break into a conversation? Commit to doing that at least once during the meeting.
- Plan to make one spontaneous comment at some point during the meeting. Seriously. Don’t take the time to phrase and rephrase in your head or decide if your input is worthy. You are sitting at the table. You’re a member of the team. If something said inspires a comment, say it!
- It’s okay to disagree. Expressing a different point of view promotes brainstorming and problem-solving.
- Stand strong. Senior executives take notice when a young one does not defer from a good idea when countered by a boss or an overbearing co-worker.
Take these tips and turn them into tools! It will take some time, but it won’t be long and the phrase quiet as a mouse will in no way pertain to you. You have a voice. One that will ring with self-assurance. When that happens, you will command the respect you deserve. Interruptions and being drowned out will become a thing of the past. So, go on… You can do it… Roar!