Whether you speak up in your organisation depends in most cases on whether you feel able to do so. However, the advantages of doing so outweigh the disadvantages so itâ€™s worth taking a chance. Here is some advice on how to go about it.
Be a balanced voice: Balance your voice by thinking about and through what exactly you want to say, why you want to say it and what purpose you want it to serve. You must say what you want in a way that shows you have reflected on the issues. If others have expressed opinions about the same issue, make sure you are presenting a fresh angle on things. Be vocal but also measured.
Show leadership: Know when to speak, think about how and where is the best way to speak up. An open forum may not always be the place to speak, especially if what you have to say can put someone unnecessarily on the spot. Donâ€™t address in an open forum an issue that should be dealt with one on one. Speaking up is not easy for many people; therefore, when you do, you are setting an example, so make sure itâ€™s a good one.
Donâ€™t be an echo: Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with endorsing the view of another. In fact, it is a good way of promoting consensus. Being an echo is being loud, saying nothing new or insisting on just your opinions rather than hearing what otherâ€™s response might be to your contribution. Make sure what you have to say, even if itâ€™s a question, is really adding value to the goals of the conversation.Â
Set a tone for yourself: Be consistent, aim not to respond in the heat of the moment. Hold yourself responsible for getting a good result as far as is within your control for what you want to contribute. When you feel agitated, give yourself time to cool down. Itâ€™s your job not only to say what you have to say respectfully but to monitor the response and impact so that you are not misunderstood.
Now take action: What do you need to do to gather the courage to speak up more?