How To Be More Confident at Work: Speak Up
How To Be More Confident At Work
Part One: SPEAK UP
We’ve all been there… new on the job, moved into a different department, or maybe something as simple as your co-workers constantly speaking over you while you’re talking. More than ever before you are asked to continually prove yourself. Everyone is constantly bringing their A game to work, or worse yet, don’t need to bring their A game because they’re all close to one another. And there you are, on the outside. What if you say something that was discussed the before and you’re just wasting everyone’s time? What if you mention something that everyone else thinks is insignificant and now you look like you’re over-analyzing things? Or worst of all, what if your comment is laughed at or all together ignored?
The last thing you probably want to hear right now is someone telling you to VOICE your opinion… but we’re here, telling you to do just that. In reality our worst fears almost never happen, but in our minds they are most likely what will occur the moment you open your mouth. The reason you were chosen for your position is because you’re valued by your employer, and the company wants to hear what you have to say. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, famously said, “it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” The truth is you are important, and you are full of brilliant ideas that deserve to be heard. If you’re working for the right company, they want you to speak up.
So now that you agree that your ideas are worth sharing… how do you do it? Even if you tell yourself that you’re “just going to do it”, chances are when there’s a pause in the conversation and your co-workers all look to you, your brain is going to have a different idea in mind (hint: it rhymes with peep more south hut).
The number one way to get yourself ready to talk is to actually be ready to talk. Know the material you’ll be going over in the meeting. Have a list of ideas and topics you’d like to see covered while you’re there. Even try to think about how the topic of that meeting could affect your co-workers or how it could affect other departments. In short, know your stuff. Once you have crafted an idea of what you think the meeting should look like, it will be easier to mention an item on your list that hasn’t been discussed. Your brain will be more comfortable letting you speak because you’ve imagined this same conversation while crafting your notes.
2. Speak up… slowly
Tip one is perfect for when you know you have a big event coming up… but what about those shorter, more intimate moments? There’s a reason meetings get a bad rep. Usually one person commandeers the meeting with their proposal for the new launch, or it’s a lunch and learn where you’re being presented to; not an open dialogue scenario. What about those moments you hear two co-workers talking over their cubical wall; or when the VP comes out of the office and checks in with the team to see how the day is going. What about those? This is the perfect time to practice speaking up! This may feel monumentally more jarring to you because it is more one on one, but just think, now you only have a few eyes on you. Now if you falter, you will have at least said your idea once. Don’t get us wrong, there is definitely a growing curve. Just remember, the more you do it, the better you’ll be at it!
3. Don’t Wait Until You Know It All
Tip one is all about the prep, but don’t get it into your mind you have to be PERFECT before you’re ready to take that jump. Spoiler alert: you’re not perfect, and that’s great! You do want to make sure you know your stuff, but you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing. You got this job because you were the BEST person for it! Think about that! You beat out all of the other candidates. You are the expert. Don’t let that bubbling fear of not knowing enough hold you back from getting to the next level.
Don’t let the bubbling fear of not knowing enough hold you back from getting to the next level.
4. Be Open to Feedback
When you’re growing your confidence, you will stumble, you might get your feelings hurt, and you will make mistakes. Mistakes are how you grow. Mistakes are how you get better. Make a plan now for how you will handle your worst fear coming true. What will you do if your ideas are laughed at? (We recommend laughing right along with them). What will you do if your thoughts are ignored? Make that plan of action before it happens so when you do make a mistake, it doesn’t crush you. Ask for feedback when things go awry, so next time you knock it out of the park.
5. Be Your Own Cheerleader
Give yourself a high five every time you step outside of your comfort zone. This may all be new to you, so start small and work your way to the deep end of the pond. Keep your inner voice kind and encouraging. It can be your biggest ally or your worst enemy when you begin to build your confidence. Most of all, keep going. You got this.
Warner and Co
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