You have a natural way of communicating. A way that feels most comfortable to you and that you slip into easily. Here’s the rub …
Sometimes your natural way of communicating doesn’t serve you best.
Recently, I’ve seen this swell of support for introverted behaviour. Books, TED talks, blogs extol the virtues of being introverted in an extroverted world. Extroverts sometimes emulate introverted behaviours, thinking that remaining silent and stoic positions them as strong and controlled. It’s true, that may well be the perception. Unfortunately though, like in any trait, if brought to its extreme, it too can be seen as a negative.
It’s difficult to know exactly when remaining silent transcends mere “processing time” and begins to interfere with communications and connecting. Here’s 3 red flags that it may be time for you to step past your comfort zone and speak up.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO SPEAK UP IF …
… OTHERS NEED YOUR INPUT BEFORE THEY CAN CONTINUE.
Often in projects or meetings, your input is required. In fact, it’s so critical, that other steps may not be taken until your input is received. Not responding at all because you need processing time, is tantamount to ignoring your colleague. You run the risk of not only jeopardizing the project, but also of jeopardizing the relationship.
- WHAT TO DO: Put yourself in their shoes. Recognize that you may be the source of unnecessary stress. Own that piece.
… YOU TAKE MORE THAN 24 HOURS TO RESPOND.
As a rule of thumb, it’s a polite and accepted business practice to respond in some way to an information request with 24 hours. But what if you really don’t have the answer? No problem. Do this.
- WHAT TO DO: Reply to acknowledge receipt of the request, explain that you don’t have the answer now and say WHEN you will. It’s best to respond promptly to advise of status and manage expectations. This is courteous and respectful toward your colleagues, and positions you as being a pro and team player.
… YOUR SPEAKING UP WILL MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE.
If you’re sitting on an answer and watching someone squirm to find a solution you already have, that’s just plain mean. Get over yourself and out of your comfort zone to reach out and help your colleague. As uncomfortable as you may be speaking up is still a fraction as uncomfortable and draining it must be for someone to be searching for answers.
- WHAT TO DO: Reframe the situation — come from a place of service. Instead of channeling your energy on being nervous and self-doubt, funnel it on helping your colleague. Not only will you feel more confident, you’ll be building relationships.
Look around you. If there’s not a situation in your life or workplace right now where you could speak up, there will be. And now, you’ll be ready.
© 2014-2017 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Until next time, here’s to …
Better communication, Better business, Better life,
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”
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Communication consultant, author, professional speaker Marion Grobb Finkelstein teaches individuals and organizations across Canada how to improve morale, confidence and productivity by changing how they communicate. Chat with her at www.facebook.com/MarionSpeaks or
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