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How to Find Your Voice at Work

How to Find Your Voice at Work

Chrissy Scivicque

November 15, 2010

I know so many amazing professionals who often tell me speaking up at work is a challenge. It’s not they don’t have opinions—they certainly do! And it’s not because they don’t have the smarts—these folks are the best and the brightest. But they still have an incredibly difficult time expressing themselves in the workplace. So today’s post is all about finding your voice at work and overcoming those internal demons that have been keeping you quiet.

Before we get started though, let’s address those demons. What stifles your voice in the workplace?

Here are a few of the common answers:

  • I feel intimated by others.
  • I don’t feel respected.
  • I’m afraid of rejection.
  • I’m afraid of confrontation or “rocking the boat.”
  • I want to blend in and not draw attention to myself.
  • I’m afraid of looking stupid.
  • No one will listen anyway.

Any of these sound familiar?

Now, we should also address why having a voice at work is important. Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • You deserve it!
  • Sharing your thoughts will show others you’re engaged.
  • You’ll get noticed (in a positive way)
  • You’ll earn more respect.
  • You’ll contribute more value.
  • You’ll be more involved (which makes work more stimulating)
  • You’ll learn more.

I truly believe voicing your opinions, objections, and questions is an important part of being a valuable employee. But it also has an enormous impact on the fulfillment you get from your work. Feeling stifled and unheard is frustrating, no matter how much you tell yourself you “don’t care.” You’re not a robot. You have a brain and valuable experience and knowledge to share. You weren’t hired to just go through the motions. You deserve a voice and, once you start using it, others will come to respect you more for it.

So, how exactly does one start to find their voice at work? Try the following:

Listen First

There’s nothing worse than someone who speaks without first listening to what others are saying. If you’re not quite sure you fully understand the situation, don’t jump right in. Listen, absorb and make sure your contribution will be helpful and not distracting or off-topic.