Not everyone who wants to develop their career is comfortable with being loud, confident and forthright with their opinions. It’s often thought that in order to get ahead, you need to be those things, but there are ways of getting your voice heard even if you’re naturally more quiet. Here are some steps to help with getting your voice heard around the workplace.
It can be difficult to approach certain topics on a day to day basis. People are often in and out of phone calls and busy that it makes it difficult for you to tell when is a good time to talk to someone. Arrange a meeting to talk something through at a later date, whether it’s with one person or several. That way, you know that the subject will be covered and you will get an opportunity to say what you need to. People often take more notice of what is said in meetings also, as the context and purpose of them dictates this. Furthermore, having the discussion at an appointed time gives you the chance to prepare what you need to say, so you don’t miss anything out.
You might think that offering ‘I don’t minds’ on a regular basis makes you easy going and flexible – which may be true in some circumstances. But if you really want to progress and have your voice heard, offering an opinion on at least some matters is essential. Firstly, having an opinion shows you care about the subject at hand. It also suggests you know enough about it to be confident enough to offer a judgement. Don’t be afraid to disagree with your colleagues either. As long as you have a valid reason to support your opinion and put it across in a polite way, people will appreciate a bit of discussion and varied ideas.
A great way to get your voice heard is to offer up new ideas and suggestions. Anything that is going to be of help to people, speed things up or keep up with competition will be of value to your co-workers. If you think something could be done better/differently then say so. The worst that can happen is that someone will disagree, and this doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the thought behind your suggestion. When a suggestion of yours gets taken on board, you will gain a lot more confidence in your opinions and ideas, which will make you feel more comfortable when you contribute next time.
To ensure you get listened to, have something interesting to talk about. Keeping up to date with industry news, the latest studies, surveys and more will give you plenty to share around with your colleagues. Keep this up and you’ll find you might even become the port of call that people come to with questions or to see if you have anything of interest to them.
When finding your voice at work, remind yourself that what you have to say is of value and will be seen that way by your co-workers. This should help you become more confident in speaking up and approaching people.
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