5 Strategies for Speaking Up
1. Prepare in advance.
Be sure to fully review the agenda and any preparation material. This will naturally generate some insightful questions that you can have ready to go which will also help you avoid speaking off the cuff.
2. Get curious about the process.
Pay attention to how conclusions, decisions and plans were made. This can uncover helpful insights about another person’s reasoning/way of thinking that can add to the quality of the discussion (and can also uncover possible oversights).
- E.g. ‘I hadn’t considered approaching it that way before. Can you walk me through your thinking on that?’
3. Make space to talk about concerns.
It’s OK to ask about potential issues or concerns (in fact, it could help the team avoid a larger issue down the road if you don’t!). Pro tip: Remember to use collaborative language when asking these types of questions.
- E.g. ‘Do you foresee any challenges or potential roadblocks on this project plan?’
4. Compliment someone.
Part of building psychological safety in the workplace is to support and encourage your team when they propose a good idea, thought or conclusion. Complimenting a colleague can also double as a great opportunity for you to speak up!
- E.g. ‘I love how you framed that problem. It really helped when you broke it down into something simpler to understand’
5. Narrate your gut feeling.
Another tactic is to share your first instinct about how an idea, proposal, plan makes you feel (does the timeline seem too long? does the scope seem too vague?). Pro tip: try to articulate it in a way that illustrates you have an open-mind and are leaving space for further exploration/discussion.
- E.g. ‘My first instinct is to say “that is out of the scope” but I want to hear more about how you are factoring it into the project timeline?’
Remember…you were invited to participate for a reason. Because you have expertise in your role and contribute valuable information to the discussion. The team wants you to speak up and share your thoughts and ideas so it’s worth developing this skill. Plus, the more you do it, the more confident you will become!
And When To Hold Back...
1. When you’re unprepared.
2. When you’re unclear (or don’t have) a point.
3. When it’s distracting.
4. When you’re interrupting.
Taking It One Step At A Time
Remember, like any other skill, public speaking can be strengthened over time.
Speaking up in meetings can be a great way to start building your confidence in this area. If you have a tendency to experience feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and self-doubt, try taking it step-by-step.
Overall, public speaking is a GREAT way to improve self-confidence by helping you overcome your fears, enhance your communication skills, and build self-esteem. With practice and dedication, you can improve your overall self-confidence.
Plus with Speak for Success, it can also be fun, safe and supportive.