Speaking Up 101

Speaking Up 101

Hands being raised
Speaking up is necessary in all aspects of life. Not only does it empower you as a person by giving you a voice, it can also provide you with benefits in the workplace, school and life in general. You never know the impact of what your ideas can offer if you don’t say them.

If you’re an introverted person, letting your voice be heard and sharing your ideas with others can be a lot harder than it sounds; just the thought of speaking up in a big group can be terrifying. Studies show that in the United States alone, up to one third of people are introverted. In fact, Abraham Lincoln, Gwyneth Paltrow and J.K. Rowling have all admitted that they are introverted people.

There is nothing wrong with being on the quieter side; however, it can get in the way of voicing your opinion, asking a question or just speaking up in general. With that being said, it can also be tough if you’re an extroverted person. You don’t want people to think you’re loud and talking just to talk.

According to an article by Forbes magazine, if you’re an introverted person, the less you say, the more you enable others to define your voice and your identity. If you’re an extroverted person, you might be saying too much, thus making unnecessary noise and becoming more vulnerable to criticism.

So what are you supposed to do? It’s all about the consistency! The key is to know when to say something and when not to. Here are some do’s and don’ts for speaking up the right way—whether you’re introverted or extroverted.

1. Don’t repeat the exact same thing that someone just said. This is called “piggy-backing.” If something was said and you agree, nod and keep the conversation going. If your opinion differs, do say something and explain why. Your opinion matters!

2. Do prepare. This can be a very successful tactic for an introverted person. If you know you have a meeting later in the week, write down a few key points that you want to discuss. And if you need to practice in the mirror a few times, that’s okay!

3. Do command respect. Ever feel like you say something and no one hears you, so you just keep repeating yourself until someone acknowledges you? Commanding respect can be hard but it’s important, and there is a right way to do it. Be an active listener. If you make the point to really listen to other people, they will be more inclined to listen to you. Secondly, know what you’re going to say and say it confidently. Next time, people will want to listen to you because you bring up substantial points.

4. Don’t cut people off when they are talking. Remember, speaking up is about being able to know when to say something.

5. Don’t stop believing (in yourself). You can do it! See something? Say something. Have an idea? Say something. Have a question? Say something!

Remember, practice makes perfect. It can be tough for all of us, but the more you do something, the easier it gets. Now go get ’em, tiger!

Want an easy way to start speaking up? Make sure to #VoteYourVoice and vote on November 4, 2014 on campus! Click here for details!