10 tips on how to get your voice heard at work – you may find you have no difficulties in one to one discussions but act differently when placed in a meeting environment. Or just in general you have difficulty speaking up and giving your point of view across.
The following 10 Tips which will help you get others attention and your voice heard at work.
1. Signalling – is a technique to make people aware of what you are going to say before you say it. Signalling can be extremely useful if you normally have difficulty breaking into a discussion or you would like to get peoples’ attention to what you want to say:
‘I’d like to ask a question: Tom, what did you ……? ‘Can I clarify what we have agreed: Do we really want….? ‘I’d like to throw in an idea: Before we go any further I’d recommend……’
2. Internal disclosure – is a technique to explain to others what’s happening to you emotionally. The use of this technique can unblock opposition, sponsor honesty and create trust and openness.
‘There’s a part of me that wants to agree with you, and there is another part that is reluctant to because……’
‘I feel like I am being manipulated when I thought we had agreed to be open with each other….’
3. Suggesting – Puts forward ideas and courses of action with a question. By shaping it in the form of a question it makes the idea more appealing to others and often less likely to be resisted.
‘Should we set new targets’? ‘Could we use more staff’? ‘How about introducing a revised procedure’?
4. Seeking Ideas – draws people into the meeting and stimulates action oriented ideas from others.
‘Sarah, how do you think you should go about it?’ ‘What’s going to be the best way to handle them?’ ‘Anyone got any ideas how we should proceed?’
5. Supporting creates a creative and win-win atmosphere. Using it also builds alliances and encourages others to support you.
‘I think that’s a good idea’ ‘I agree with Jon’s idea that……’ ‘That sounds an excellent thing to do’
6. Building (on other people’s ideas) – developing other’s ideas and courses of action, expanding them further and adding to them. Demonstrates you are listening and creates a win-win atmosphere.
‘That’s a good idea and then we could go on to re-plan the schedule as well’. ‘As you say, we can make a presentation and then let the customer try out the new system’. ‘Nice one; and then we could push it out company wide.’
7. Stating Differences – different points of view can lead to a better result. So make them and keep them in proportion. Avoid using the word ‘disagree’ – it is an emotive “red rag” of a word. People hear the word disagree and then work out how they are going to disagree with you rather than listening to your point of view.
‘I see it differently because…’ ‘I agree with ……. and have some doubts about….’ ‘I don’t think that is the right course of action’
8. Seeking information or clarification – this verbal behaviour is different to seeking ideas which is about action; this behaviour is about information.
‘What is your view on? ‘How does that fit in to what you believe? ‘When you said …what were you thinking about..?’
9. Testing Understanding – replaying back another’s comment with the aim of ensuring you and they have common understanding
‘So am I right in thinking that what you want us to do is….? ‘If I have understood correctly what you are suggesting is we go for broke?’. When you said ‘x’ was important did you mean….?’
10. Summarising – frequent summaries allow decisions and action to be understood and lends clarity to what has been said. They can be done in statement or question form.
‘We have discussed the problem with the flues, the cost of repair, who is taking responsibility and when they will be repaired’. ‘Can I recap what we have covered? John is going to Blackpool, Sally is returning to Cardiff and we are all meeting up together next Thursday in Edinburgh?’
If you want to get your voice heard at work , you now have the verbal tools to do that.
Interestingly meetings that go round in circles, take far longer than they should do and have nothing decided at the end do so, because few people are using any of the verbal behaviours Suggesting or Seeking Ideas.
Remember that the intention of assertive behaviour is to bring about win:win. Getting your voice heard is not an exercise in personal power. Listen as well as give, ask as well as tell, support as well as state problems if you want to get your voice heard at work.