Life / Can Do

Helpful tips to living a better life

Speak Up! Or Be Ignored

with 4 comments

There is so much advice out their preaching the value of listening. We also hear it is best to let the other person do all the talking. Well that may be fine advice for some situations but from what I’ve seen in meetings at the workplace is that most people tend to remain silent. When the host of the meeting asks for feedback there are usually only a few  people who speak up and it’s always the same people.

Employees will grumble about how they are not appreciated or the opinion doesn’t matter but when given the opportunity to speak, they don’t take advantage of it.

I was at a meeting the other day where several project teams were asked for updates on their projects. I talked about how my work was going and asked a few relevant questions. Other team leaders gave very terse answers when pressed but would not contribute any input to the group. I was a little surprised that with the amount of work that was being done that they chose not to share a little more.

After the meeting, I learned that the program manager was upset about the lack of feedback from the other teams.

I’m not entirely comfortable talking in front of large groups of people, but it is part of the job. If you can’t communicate effectively, you have no business managing a team of employees.

If you are not going to voice your opinions, you have no right complaining when others go in  direction you don’t agree with.

Also, when you do get the courage to speak, raise your voice. I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a meeting where I can’t hear a word they are saying. I know the old trick about how you should speak softly so others will pay attention, but if you can’t be heard at all, you give the impression of meekness. The only people who can get away with speaking softly for effect are those who normally speak clearly. If you are quiet as a mouse, people will think you are a mouse.

It’s kind of ironic that I’m giving this advice. Throughout most of my life, I’ve been a bit of a low talker and that was when I dared speak at all. Now I will adjust my volume as needed to meet the needs of the situation. If I didn’t want to be heard, I wouldn’t speak at all.

I think part of the problem is that most people still have the worker mindset where they must wait for direction from their leaders. The leaders, on the other hand, are being taught to encourage collaboration and increase employee engagement. When employees don’t speak up it gives the impression that they don’t care. If you don’t care, quit and stop wasting the time and resources of the company you are working for.

Even if you don’t feel confident, speak up anyway if you have something to say. When you are nervous, you may stammer and stumble on your words the first 2 to 100 times, but if you do it enough that nervousness will eventually get under control. It won’t go away completely, but you will be able to deal with it.

Life is so much better when you are an active participant.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Business, Life, People, Thoughts

Tagged with , , ,

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Tim, as usual, I think your points are dead on. I am really pushing my direct reports to speak more openly (especially in meetings). If you want lead, then you need to be comfortable speaking up. The best way to develop that confidence is to speak up more frequently.

    On a side note, why are you not publicizing your posts on Twitter?

    Manage Better Now

    February 4, 2012 at 11:39 am

    • It is great that you have the management perspective while I have the employee perspective and yet we still generally agree on common goals.

      The reason I don’t publicize on Twitter is due to plain lack of familiarity with Twitter. You would think a technologist such as myself would be more knowledgeable of how that is done but I just haven’t taken the time to really explore Twitter.

      I’ll spend some time getting more familiar with Twitter so that I don’t miss an opportunity to share my site with others.

      Thanks for the guidance

      Tim Thinkauthor

      February 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      • You can turn on the publicize feature on WordPress and it will automatically send out a tweet each time you post. I started with that, then I rapidly evolved into communicating directly with people. I have made a lot of great connections through Twitter in a very short time. I don’t actually get a whole lot of traffic from it, but I think the connections I am making are helping drive traffic.

        Manage Better Now

        February 4, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      • I didn’t know that. That is much easier than what I thought. I’ll do that.

        Tim Thinkauthor

        February 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: