Public Speaking: How to speak up for yourself

Public speaker with his back turned

Have you ever wondered what it would take to speak up for yourself more effectively?

“One word expresses the pathway to greatness: voice. Those on this path find their voice and inspire others to find theirs. The rest never do.Stephen R. Covey

Mindful presenting offer us all the means of finding, valuing and expressing our voice; ‘the pathway to greatness’.

Whether you are the CEO, a student, call centre agent or clerk; every single one of us is here to express ourselves.

To do that, we have to learn to speak up

Far too many of us struggle to find the courage and grace to speak up for ourselves and others when we need to.

Many would have us believe that the reason for our silence or outspokenness is simple; we are either introverts or extroverts. Whilst our character of course plays a significant role in the way we our express ourselves I believe there is a great deal more at stake:

– Many of us are afraid of not being liked.

– Some of us don’t feel important enough to be heard.

– Many of us were never taught how to find, to value and express our true voice.

– Some of us believe that we need confidence to speak up and only the lucky few are born with it.

The ability to speak up is within everyone’s gift

Hopefully, you will have never been in one of these situations yourself:

– The extremely busy, tired and overstretched employee

Your boss once again appears with another project and even more unreasonable deadline.

She asks how you feel about taking it on and as usual, you simply smile and say ‘no problem’. As she returns to her office you are seething with anger and disbelief that another human being could be so blind as to not be able to see how overworked and overstressed you are.

Why didn’t you just have the courage to tell her?

That was me a long time ago and my answer was simple.  If I said no, she would think that I was no good at my job, that I couldn’t cope and she would let me go.

– The teenager struggling at school

Who doesn’t quite seem able to keep up with your fellow students in the math’s class. Each time you underperform in tests, your teacher becomes more agitated demanding speedy improvements. You leave for the day in complete despair with a pile of homework that you don’t even understand.

You wish you could tell him that you just ‘don’t get it’. You don’t understand any of it and nothing makes sense to you. Why couldn’t you just tell him?

That was me a very long time ago and my answer was simple then too. I was embarrassed, ashamed and terrified of looking like the class idiot to both my teacher and my friends.

– The nervous speaker

You are terrified of public speaking and your boss insists that you present the management team with a full quarterly update. It isn’t the update that’s the problem; it’s simply the terrifying thought of speaking to them.

If only you could tell y

our boss how you feel and ask for help.

That was me some 30 years ago. I did tell my boss and I did ask for help.

Guess what he said?

‘You’ll be fine don’t worry’

Where do we find the courage to speak up and to know when and how to do so?

Having reached the pinnacle of my career in the corporate world, written my own book and created a transformative business helping countless people to find, to value and express their voice, I can now tell you the answer.

Finding the courage to speak up

It’s not about whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. To be honest, no one really cares anyway.

The courage comes from knowing and believing that it’s your birthright to express:

– Who you are

– What you’ve learned on your journey so far

– What you care about

– How you feel

– What you want and need

– Why you are have a right to be heard

–  Your opinion or perspective

Knowing when to speak up

Once you believe that it’s your birthright to speak up, how do you know when to do so?

It’s that moment you:

– Feel uncomfortable because you feel you aren’t important enough and no one will want to listen to you.

–  Believe that you have something to say but you are feel that someone else can express it better than you can.

–  Are terrified that you know that you are right but someone will dare to correct you.

–  Need help

– Are scared or worried

How to speak up

– Remind yourself that what you have to say is important.

– Ask yourself if not now, when …can you keep doing this?

– Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen and if the answer is not ‘death,’ say it anyway.

– Stand or sit tall and proud, shoulders up, take a deep breath, pause and then speak.

– Imagine how your favourite superhero would speak.

– Remind yourself that the reason you are here is to express yourself.

– Practice, practice, practice

– Find yourself a good public speaking coach or a brilliant public speaking course.

In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, many people are struggling to be speak up and be heard.

In his TED Talk, ‘How to speak up for yourself.’ Adam Galinsky, opens up with the statement, “Speaking up is hard to do”.

Speaking up is hard that’s true but it’s not only important, it’s critical to our wellbeing, peace of mind and success.

Watch Adam’s TED Talk here to see him in action.

If you’d to learn how to speak up more effectively:

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

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