5 Ways to Find Your Voice at Work
The workplace can be a hub of innovation, a place where ideas are born, and a hive of productivity, but on the flip side it can leave many of us feeling like nervous wrecks, unworthy of being heard. With so many personalities dominating the professional sphere, speaking up for yourself and being heard can be difficult - even for the brightest, most innovative employee. We look at five ways to build the confidence to find your voice at work.
If You Don't Ask, You Don't Get
This can be a difficult lesson to abide by because the fear of rejection is often so strong. The thought of asking for a raise/promotion/time off fills us with dread at the idea of being told 'no' and all the nasties we assume will come with it. In reality there's no drama that ensues after being rejected; hearing the word no is the worst that will happen, leaving you right where you started with nothing lost. On the flip side, if you do ask, you might get so much more. Try building this up, setting yourself smaller challenges like asking for holiday (which you know you're entitled to) and then work your way up to bigger and better things as you learn to deal with both the yes's and the no's.
The last thing you want is to find your voice by veering completely off topic and giving input that's completely irrelevant. Listen first, absorb what's being said, and let others' ideas sink in so you can form your own, brilliant ones. The ability to bounce off other people is more important than the ability to be loud for the sake of it.
Do Your Homework
Similar to listening, making sure that you have all the facts to back up your claims will give you more confidence to speak up. Follow up questions are a thing, and being caught off guard can make us feel really silly if we simply rehearsed a speech with no research behind it. Not only will the ability to go into detail impress others and have them trust your opinion inn future, but it will feel good too, positively reinforcing your ability to find your voice.
Fake It 'Til You Make It
Most of us don't know what's going on half the time. No one has all the answers, and even super-confident people who seem to know everything about everything have at some point (or still currently are) winging their way through half of it. Pretending to be confident is as good as actually being confident, so push yourself out of your comfort zone and hoodwink everyone into believing that you know what's up. The more you speak up, even if you feel a nervous wreck, the easier it will become.
Remind Yourself Why You're There
You were hired for a reason. You're an expert in the field, and there are some tasks that only you work on, and some skills that only you have. Reminding yourself of exactly why your voice is worth being heard is tough amid the creeping doubts telling you otherwise, but it's time to stamp them out. If you need to, write down a list of all the reasons you're great at your job, and why your input matters.