Whether you are in a meeting, part of a team or just giving your input, you have to make sure you are getting your voice heard at work. When your voice is ignored, you are unable to share your ideas, thoughts, and opinions. This often leads to second-guessing yourself and wondering if you really do belong in a certain workplace.
Or, you might assume that your teammates are brilliant and you are not. It can be very validating to get your voice heard. However, you have to make sure that you are doing all you can to get your voice heard.
The following is a short guide about getting your voice heard in a healthy and productive manner:
Speaking with Conviction
Often, you might have a thought or an idea that might appear to be the perfect solution for a problem. But, if you are too shy about it, then you won’t be able to voice it. You need to believe in your idea and in yourself enough to speak up without any doubts.
Yes, your idea might have merit but if you sound like you don’t believe in it, others will pick up on this. Make statements that don’t sound like a disclaimer. Avoid using the following:
- “I think…”
- “Maybe …”
- “This is a rough idea…”
Don’t use any filler words either such as “like,” or “um.” These can make it sound like you are second-guessing yourself. If you sound so unsure of yourself, others will also not take your suggestions seriously. When you sound like you know what you are talking about, others will pay more attention to what you are talking about.
Turning it Into a Discussion
When you are talking, do not turn things into a monologue. This can be boring for the listeners. Instead, turn things into a discussion, even when your idea or suggestion hasn’t got much of a response. Suppose you pitched an idea which just got a half-hearted “hmm” or “interesting” from the team.
If no one else has any suggestions or is not openly contributing, then you can start asking directed questions to get more engagement and by turning it into an open discussion. However, don’t let someone interrupt or derail you. If they do ask a question, let them know that you’re going to be discussing the idea further, after you are done explaining your concept.
Keep Things Brief and on Track
Always make sure that you keep things brief and to the point. In conversations, it can get very easy to get derailed and go from point A to point D without realizing that you skipped over point B and point C. This is why you should focus on the main points.
These also ensure that you can grab the attention of the listeners right from the start. It makes them want to listen and consider the idea you have. People are usually distracted with other work-related stuff and are waiting for the meeting to end so that they can go back to their work. However, if you’re able to get their attention, you can show them that your idea has some merit behind it. You could use an inforgraphic to help you get your point across with ease.
Pay Attention to Your Tone
The tone you use can make a huge difference in how you present your ideas. Sometimes, people also assume that to get themselves heard, they have to shout or use a loud voice. Don’t do that. The tone of your voice can be soft and gentle, but as long as you are speaking calmly and with confidence, people will tend to listen to you.
If your tone of voice is loud or agitated, people aren’t inclined to listen to you. Instead, they are more likely to want to end the discussion or avoid further engagement on the topic. Be kind and respectful in your tone so that it encourages others to listen to you.
Look at Your Body Language
Did you know that your body language also speaks volumes about you? Your body language can be the main reason why someone isn’t listening to you. Crossed arms, hunched shoulders, and a lowered head all signify that you are uncomfortable being in the spotlight. When your body language is saying “I’m not confident” then don’t be surprised that your idea doesn’t gain traction.
A good part of communication is non-verbal. So, make sure that your body language is positive and confident. Keep your shoulders squared, your head up, and your back straight. Don’t cross your arms, instead, use them to talk as well. Even sitting, don’t fidget or slouch your back. Be attentive and others will be attentive to you.
Timing is Important
Always be mindful of the timing and delivery of your ideas, especially if you are talking during a meeting. You don’t want to interrupt the person because it can be rude but you also want to deliver your idea. If you feel like your idea is one that has merit, don’t wait for others to schedule a meeting, reach out to your supervisors or team members.
The earlier you let them know, the better the chances are of incorporating that idea into the project that you are working on. For this reason, your timing matters. Additionally, there can be busy times when everyone is so swamped with work that they do not have the time to listen to an idea or suggestion. So, the wiser option is to wait for quiet times when people have more room to breathe and listen.
Knowing how to be heard at work can help you unlock your true potential and stand out. It will make you look more present, involved and willing to be part of the team.