Learning to SPEAK UP and voice your opinion at school, in meetings, or at work is a vital skill that only comes with practice. You have to practice sounding confident until you actually start believing in it.
The video below reminds me of a great quote by the first African-American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 Company, Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO or Xerox, she said:
And if you don’t start speaking up, NO ONE will know who you are, or what you do, or what value you bring.
No one is waiting in the wings to whisper how awesome your work is. NOPE. You have to let people know what your accomplishments are. You need to let others know about your ideas, so start getting comfortable with the idea of promoting (or making others aware) of your great work.
Here’s a video on “how-to” actually gain confidence and the small steps you can start implementing right away to bolster your confidence, especially in public settings where your communication skills are put to the test.
Click the button and it’ll take you to Vimeo to play the video. It’s worth the 9 minutes to listen to this video in its entirety.
Don’t do this:
- Never start a question with an apology. Obvious reasons.
- Never start a question with fillers or disclaimers like “um, you know, so”
- Never start a conversation/question/statement with “preambles” (it’s an introductory statement, but really it’s just a bunch of needless words upon words, used to soften your message, so you don’t sound a certain way…like too assertive).
- If you’re making a statement, make it sound like a statement, –not a question. Don’t have your voice trail upwards, or else you’ll sound unsure of yourself.
- Avoid qualifiers when speaking. For example,
- Somewhat/Slightly/Sort of
- Indicates/Looks Like
We use these words (once again) as a way to soften the message, but really we’re weakening the message and creating (or breeding) doubt in our own minds. We must speak with conviction. If we’re wrong about something, then we’re wrong. Making a mistake will not destroy us, but you can bet that sounding unsure, weak, or confused will never make us sound like leaders.
Watch the video, and ask yourself how often have you done the very things they’ve spoken about? Not said something in a meeting for fear of sounding stupid, only to have someone else (usually a guy) say the exact same thing?? Avoid speaking up because you didn’t think you were smart enough or knew enough??