You know you need to be ‘visible’ in the office to earn a promotion or even respect, but how? It’s not enough to just speak up at meetings, you have to sound smart—so when people hear you, they know you’re someone they can respect. Here are some tips on how to appear more confident, assertive, and professional.
Don’t think aloud
If you talk too much, or babble on and on as you try to make your point, people tune you out. Remember they don’t want the behind-the-scenes of your big ideas—the anecdotes, internal struggles, pros and cons. They want the key concept and why it’ll solve the problem. If they need more information, they’ll ask a follow-up question.
Pick the best timing
Don’t blurt out the ideas as the come. Timing is everything. IF you’re at a meeting, stick to the agenda and just note down your idea and pick a better venue or method of sharing it. If your ideas won’t solve the problem at hand, people will ignore them simply because they don’t want the meeting to drag on.
Stick to one point
Do you say too much? Sharing many unrelated ideas in one go can simply prompt others to ask, ‘What’s your point?’ If they’re tired—and co-workers usually are—they’ll simply tune you out to spare themselves the trouble of making sense of what you’re saying.
Vary your intonations and pacing
Your voice is your image. If you speak in a monotone, with no inflections, you lose people’s attention. If you sound too breathy, nasal, or rough to the ears, they tune you out.
You can also use the speed of your words to draw attention to key ideas. For example, summarize your point in a short sentence, but place emphasis by pausing before or after an important word.
Believe in your own authority—or develop it
Authority is not a position, nor those ‘image building’ techniques like wearing red. It comes from solid foundations of facts, figures and experience packaged in such a way that it cannot be ignored.’
In other words, you have to build your idea before you blurt it out. If your idea can’t add anything different or special to a meeting, maybe it might not be worth sharing,’ he says.
Be assertive but not pushy
If you’re being forceful you immediately use aggressive words like ‘should, must, etc.’ Your attitude can also be seen in your gestures and facial expressions. People may pick up on your negativity, and automatically dismiss what you’re saying.
Sound confident and sure
Many people sabotage themselves by starting out with hesitance: ‘I’m not really sure, but I think…’ ‘This may sound silly, but I feel…’ No matter how good your thinking is, the wimpy opening will always weaken what follows. Here’s a guideline. If you’re talking about values, say ‘I believe or I think…’ But when you’re discussing objective facts, say, ‘My experience has been…’ or ‘My research shows…’ This is especially important if you are or asking for a promotion.
People are more likely to listen to you if you’ve validated what they’ve said. So, just take a few moments to say, ‘That’s a great idea,’ or ‘I agree with you, and building on your suggestion…’ Avoid starting with ‘but’ which makes them feel that you’ve negated what they’ve said.
Photo from womenpr.com