Are you shy? Timid to speak up at work? New on the job? You’re not alone. Although a recent piece in Fortune focused on a reader being self-conscious, the reasons for not speaking up are endless.
That said, it’s clear one major way to get ahead at work is to speak up. Here are a few ways to overcome obstacles to effectively speak up and get noticed.
1. Value your ideas. Don’t underestimate them. Have you ever sat in a conference room during a pitch meeting only to silence that little voice in your head with an innovative idea or suggestion? And then you noticed another colleague spoke up, got recognition, and also landed a really cool project?
The piece advised to get over it by giving yourself a pep talk ahead of time. Prior to the meeting, self-talk your way into positivity by pointing out all of your attributes and strengths. Believe in your abilities.
2. Be among the first to speak. In fact, the piece suggested making your presence established early in the meeting. The ideal time is within the first 10 minutes. Although it’ll make your mark in the meeting to others, it’s also a way to demonstrate believing in yourself early on.
Joel Garfinkle, executive coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level, advised in the piece, “The sooner you contribute, the less time you have to generate self-doubt. When you delay saying anything, it gets harder to break into the discussion.”
3. Ask questions. One way to contribute doesn’t only involve offering ideas; rather, it involves asking questions as well. It’s simply another way to engage yourself in stimulating conversations. Ask others to elaborate on a point they made. He explained, “By probing a little more deeply into someone else’s comment, you’ll feel engaged and become an active participant.”
4. Don’t censor yourself. If you’ve ever taken an improv class, you know the basic principle revolves around “yes and.” Take that another level to a conference room: There are no bad ideas — the only bad consequence is not sharing them.
As such, Garfinkle recommends committing to yourself ahead of time you’ll express “at one least idea that pops into your head.” Don’t pause, don’t second-guess.
The goal is for this to grow a habit and overcome lingering fears so it’ll be easier and effortless to “jump into a conversation without preparing first.”