Many people get tongue-tied at work for a variety of reasons: shyness, lack of confidence, a perceived lack of power. But in business, it’s important to share your ideas, and speak out effectively.
Fortune’s Anne Fisher answered a reader question about learning to speak up at work and offered these tips:
- Don’t play down your ideas. Affirm to yourself that your ideas are valid and valuable, and you’ll be more inclined to share them if you think about how good they are.
- Speak first in meetings. The sooner you participate, the less time you have to talk yourself out of participating. Even if you’re just agreeing or asking a clarifying question, taking part in the first few minutes of a meeting can help your confidence.
- Prepare in advance. Look over the agenda and find something you’d be willing to talk about, and then prepare some thoughts.
- Ask questions. It helps you get engaged in the conversation and inspires you to listen to answers and think more deeply about the topic.
- Don’t think twice. Self-censoring becomes a habit, so avoid it when you can. Instead, share your ideas as they come to you. Inspiration strikes at any time, so be ready and then talk about it.
- Don’t worry about disagreements. They can help clarify or strengthen positions, so don’t shy away from them.
- Hold on to your power. You’re at the company for a reason; you have strengths that people saw in you when you were hired. Work with those strengths and play to them when you participate in discussions. Don’t downplay your position or be overly deferential.
— Adapted from “Shy at Work? 7 Ways To Speak Up,” Anne Fisher, Fortune at CNNMoney.
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