Tips for Speaking Up with Confidence
What if you set a goal of speaking up for one minute at every meeting? Assess where your power is for the upcoming meeting. Do you bring expert power? Are you the one who has referent power and may sway the room through your connections? Assessing is something to do regularly and with the stakeholders attending important meetings.
Prepare your thoughts and do your homework to fuel your confidence. Then….
Begin by asking questions
Asking questions invites discussion, it opens up the door for brainstorming and it is a way to present yourself as an analytical and logical person.
Utilize the Yes plus method
Start by acknowledging what the previous speaker said, then frame your idea like this:
Yes, it’s a great proposal, and we can also do it this way…
Your idea is great, moreover here’s another approach I’m thinking of right now…
Yes, we can do it this way, furthermore we can also put it this way: ….
Notice the structure of the phrase: you give positive feedback, followed by and/moreover/furthermore and your input. Maybe your colleagues won’t like or accept your suggestion, but you will have delivered it in a nonconflicting manner.
Follow your intuition, but back it up with data
Intuition is a very powerful quality. Don’t ignore it! Go with your intuition and ask for answers when something feels wrong or sounds fake. Be persistent and don’t give up
unless you get to the bottom of things.
But you cannot present your intuition as your main argument for business suggestions or operations improvements unless it comes with a valid explanation as well. Imagine the looks on your colleagues’ faces if you say I just have a feeling it would be better this way… Check what your intuition tells you with facts and figures, reports, whitepapers etc.
You have earned the right to speak up and be heard. What holds you back is no one but yourself. Your perspective is unique and your input is original. Take steps towards building your confidence every day.