times when we could kick ourselves aren't there! There was something we wanted
to say, an opportunity to join in and contribute, but we hesitated and the
moment passed. Irritatingly someone else may have even then inadvertently
offered our pearls of wisdom and received a great response. If only we'd had
the confidence to speak up!
At work finding the confidence to speak
up can be a mixed blessing. If we put ourselves out there, with all that it
entails will we then be regarded as someone who doesn't toe the line, a trouble
maker or a know-it-all? Some people fear voicing opinions at work; might there
be reprisals, could it jeopardise their promotion prospects, put a 'black mark'
next to their name? As an employer it's important to provide an environment
where staff feel safe to share ideas and concerns, knowing they'll be taken
worse, might something said be perceived as stupid or inappropriate and result
in being ridiculed? Meetings and presentations can be especially vulnerable
situations for someone who's feeling low on confidence. The prospect of
standing up and having to speak out loud can be daunting.
and social settings many
people prefer to avoid confrontation and keep quiet or go along with things,
choosing it as the safest option. And, indeed, there are times when smiling and
saying nothing is a preferred course of action. Not everything needs to be
debated or analysed. But over time not speaking up can change a relationship's
dynamics and affect its balance. Having open, respectful channels of
communication can mean that nothings simmering or left unsaid and everyone
feels included and valued, able to say what's on their minds.
potential downside is that speaking up in close relationships can have
long-term implications. Things said cannot be unsaid and may be taken out of
context or used in future situations. Whether hurtful things are said
deliberately or not it can make for ongoing unpleasantness. Or what about those
times when we do speak up offering a valid point of view or when we don't agree
and then find we're labelled difficult, awkward and uncompromising.
finding the confidence to speak up;
you've a meeting or presentation on the horizon improve your confidence by
practicing speaking to a fake audience. Also this is a worthwhile exercise for
when you've an anticipated difficult conversation ahead. Identify your key
points and say them out loud so you're rehearsed, clear and au fait with the
gist of what you want to say. Some people like to record themselves so that
they know what they sound like and can refine how authoritatively they come
time for things you do well and boost your confidence. That way, if you're stuck in a difficult
situation at home, school or work you've got activities where you receive
recognition, positive feedback and satisfaction. Could sport, a hobby or
volunteering bring some happiness and joy into your life and result in
improving your quality of life?
people in your life drains or radiators? Some people drain your confidence and joy for
life. They only ever see the bad, cannot be supportive, are maybe jealous of
you and your enthusiasm and drive. If you can't avoid them be sure instead to
protect yourself from too much exposure and minimise the time you spend in
their company. Refuse to join them in negative or draining exchanges. Try to
mix with people who radiate positive qualities like confidence, who share your
outlook, who are equally committed to their dreams and encourage and support
you in yours.
challenge your point of view by inviting other perspectives and discussing any
contentious issues you may have to deal with. There may be another side to the
story. Be prepared to consider different points of view, constructive criticism
and feedback. A clearer thought process can improve your confidence.
disagreement situations own how you're feeling rather than blame others. It
gives you a more confident stance. 'When this happens I feel', is far more
constructive and less antagonistic than, 'you make me feel', which can cause
the other person to feel under attack and become defensive. Avoid using lots of
examples. They can distract and generate a merry-go-round of explanations,
justifications and counter-claims.
neutral place is often a good idea when there's a difficult conversation to be had.
It keeps a discussion on track and avoids it becoming loud or escalating out of
control. You can stay calm and hold onto what you have to say without losing
confidence or being concerned at things 'kicking off'.
Sometimes a mediator can be useful, but has to be someone who both parties respect.
Yes, there are professional negotiators available, but sometimes a trusted
friend, neighbour, colleague or religious leader is able to do a good job and
keep discussions relevant.
confidence issues regularly surface consider hypnotherapy to deal with
associated matters. Some people fear confrontation, want to be liked, are wary
of upsetting others. Therapy can help you deal with any background factors like
childhood influences or previous relationships, remedy underlying concerns, and
enable you to move forward, so finding ways to speak up calmly, appropriately
and with confidence.
Leigh, counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media
contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management,
assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and
provides corporate workshops and support.
author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of
Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all
on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel
more positive about your life.