How to make your voice heard at work

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but people can’t read minds and so if you have something to say, a genius idea or an opinion you may not always be handed the platform to speak out, it’s important though that you have the confidence to make your voice heard at work, whether that be in the boardroom or just around the lunch table, should you choose to.

Holding your own demonstrates boldness and self-assurance, which are traits of a leader.

1. Be mindful of your tone

Don’t start with a negative, this already feels like you’re being told off. You also want to avoid sounding sarcastic, like your nagging or criticising anyone intentionally. It’s also a good idea to not talk over people – it undermines others and can make you look like you think what you have to say is more important than what they have to say. Be considerate to those around you, you don’t know how others feel or how long they have taken to get the confidence to speak out… you may well all be in the same boat. Also be careful not to confuse being assertive with being aggressive.

2. Be respectful of your audience

Whether you’re addressing your fellow colleagues, pitching to outsiders or talking to your boss it’s imperative you judge the audience, ascertain their tone and play to their personalities.

3. Signal

If you’re shyer in the workplace it’s perhaps an easier starting point to speak out if you signal to others that you’re going to ask a question/make a point or suggestion by starting the sentence with ‘I’d like to ask a question: do we…’ or ‘Can I just make an observation: Is it really….’ it gives people a heads up to listen.

4. Body language speaks volumes

Having your shoulders back and your head held high (literally, don’t allow your chin to slip) suggests confidence and engagement, this will be recognised and will likely make you feel better already.

5. Lastly, have confidence

Most of the time you’re at a job because you’re good at it and because you know your s**t. Speaking out isn’t always easy and not every situation will go how you envisage it going but the more you do speak up the more confident and comfortable you’ll get. As the saying goes, practise makes perfect.

and don’t forget…

To always lift others up, if someone speaks out and it’s a good idea or good point then say so, giving others confidence will in turn help you to gain it and will also let them know you’ve got their back for when you need them to have yours.

You’ve got this.