Whether you are starting your first job, beginning an apprenticeship, or at college, you will want to give yourself an edge so that you stand out. Of course, you will also want to show the best of yourself so that you can push forward to the next level too. Speaking up in meetings, classes, or at work will improve your visibility and allow you to make a good impression on those who can help you progress. Hiding your skills and not being seen will give others the opportunity to bypass you and possibly get the attention that you need to get ahead. Much of this can be put down to shyness or an introverted nature, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from making a good impression, and the first thing to do is to make sure you are not defeating yourself mentally. Overcoming such obstacles is more difficult for some than for others, but by going through a few steps you can start to let your true self shine, rather than letting others always take the limelight.
- What’s Stopping You Speaking Up?
The first thing is to look at why you are finding it tough to speak up and let your views be heard. It may be due to inexperience – perhaps you feel that you are not yet qualified enough to speak up, you may be worried about upsetting others, or you may just be shy. Knowing what is holding you back is the first step in tackling the issue. Being confident at work will help mark you out for promotion, while getting your voice heard in class will make sure you are noticed by your tutors and allow you to check that your opinions and ideas are in line with the teachings of your course.
- Agree With Others
If you are unsure about voicing your opinion, you can get some practice in by letting it be known when you agree with others. Make yourself known by letting others know when you agree with them, this will help build rapport as well as offering you a chance to be seen. This will help you when you need to speak out in opposition to something later – building your confidence as part of the group and finding your own voice. You don’t need to agree with everything that is said, but it can help you build a good rapport with your class or colleagues.
- Just Speak Up
It may seem like a big step, but you really need to just get your voice heard. Just like jumping into a swimming pool it is better if you just get right in rather than painfully easing yourself in slowly. The longer you sit in silence the easier it is to let yourself drift into the background. Try to speak first when asked for opinions – this will also prevent the potentially awkward embarrassment of interrupting others or speaking over them.
If you are finding it a struggle to speak out in meetings or in class you might want to get some practice in a less pressured environment. Look for other opportunities to interact with people in less important situations – such as when you are out shopping. This will help build your confidence to speak to others and let your voice be heard. Some people find this easier than others, so don’t worry if it seems odd to start with. By pushing your comfort zone it will get easier with practice.
It is not all about how you address the situation internally but also physically, as your body language can have a huge impact with how seriously you are taken by others – check back tomorrow to find out more…