Being assertive in the workplace is scary, especially when it’s something you’re not used to. Whether you’re afraid of coming off too strong, lack the confidence or belief in yourself, or are simply too anxious about what to say, these can keep you from being noticed and finding the recognition you deserve. To help you develop the skills you need to build your courage in the workplace and overcome your fears, we have compiled a list of tips that will help you successfully stand out from the crowd at the office:
4 Tips on How to Be More Assertive in the Workplace
- Trust Your Own Judgement. Understand that a lack of confidence comes from the belief that you don’t have the proper experience or knowledge to back up your skills or idea. To remedy this, you need to trust in your own judgment and stay firm in it. Remind yourself that you were hired because you were the best candidate for the roll and that means something.
- Don’t Hedge Yourself or De-value Your Words. You want to sound confident when the time comes to voice your opinion. Work on removing hedge phrases from your language. These can include, “kind of” or “maybe this” and will water down and de-value what you are trying to say. This makes you sound less confident and more passive.
- Shift the Spotlight to Yourself. Many people act timid or choose to stay out of the spotlight. But, if you want to be more assertive at work, you must bring attention to yourself by asking questions, clarifying points, and offering a voice to these. The only way to become comfortable in the spotlight is by facing your fear of it head-on.
- Speak in Clear Headlines. News stories don’t have rambling headlines, and neither should you. If you are uncomfortable speaking up, you may end up prattling on. This will result in your question, idea, or pitch being buried in filler words. If you know you muddle your words, try to speak in concise, clear, and short headlines instead.
Opening the Dialogue & Giving the Pitch: How to Bring New Ideas to Your Boss or Manager
Do you have an idea that you want to share? Simplicity, understanding, and conversation are paramount to a strong pitch. Use these 6 tips to make your pitch easier.
- Understand the Numbers – Cost & Profit. When you go to pitch your new idea, the two questions you will be asked is how much it will cost the company and how much profit it will bring in. Do your research and know what these numbers are and what they mean to the company in terms of value. You won’t start with these in the dialogue, but they will be needed.
- Keep Your Pitch Simple. Be short and concise. You don’t want to start with an in-depth and detailed statement, but rather, a simple question that opens up the dialogue. State that you have a new idea that you think will be valuable to the company and be sure to ask for input. This is an excellent way to start a conversation around your pitch.
- Involve Your Superiors in the Pitch. It’s better to ask for advice and insight into your idea rather than to steamroll your manager or boss with a concrete package. While this might sound counterintuitive at first, it works off the premise that people want to help more when they have shared ownership in the idea. You are more likely to get approval this way.
- Have a Story Ready to Go. Having your audience understand why you are pitching your idea is almost as important as the actual pitch itself. Building a narrative around the data creates the necessary context that will help seal the deal.
- Make Your Presentation a Conversation. The pitch you present may not be the pitch management hears, and the one they hear is the only one that matters. To combat possible misunderstandings, aim to create a conversation around your idea. Engaging your audience and getting their input will give you the opportunity to answer any questions about concepts that might need further clarification.
- Use Their Language. Understand what management cares about and what inspires them. Use language around these areas to show your initiative. When you speak their language, you are able to connect with your audience and bring your message across more effectively.
Remember that your ideas, opinions, and thoughts are valued in the workplace. As long as you understand the value that you and your ideas bring to the company, you will be able to build your courage in the workplace, find it easier to speak up and get the recognition you deserve.
Article was specially written for Chartall Business College by Chantelle Clark