Speaking up in almost any group of people used to be a big challenge for me.
And it was at its worst during my first couple of years of college when the value of speaking up was at its highest.
At school we did a lot of group work. And at my part-time job we had a lot of meetings.
I always had lots of ideas and opinions in both situations, but I hardly ever spoke up about them.
Instead, I would write down my questions, comments, and opinions, and then email or text them to the group after we all went our separate ways. Often I even pretended that these were things I had thought of after the meeting was over..
That’s pretty bad. And, needless to say, didn't work half as well as I hoped it would.
Eventually, though, as I started working on myself and social confidence, things started to change - thanks to one little exercise.
I started making myself speak up just a little more whenever I was in groups of people.
At first, it was simple things like saying “yes”, or “I agree”, or whatever else felt very safe and like it wouldn’t attract a lot of attention.
Then, after getting comfortable with that first step, I started asking questions that felt safe enough.
After that, I started giving my opinions a little more.
Suddenly I found myself objecting to things I disagreed with. Leading the conversation. Making decisions.
And then I got promoted.
When my boss quit, my boss' boss came to me and offered me her job.
She commented on how she had watched me start to take charge over the last several months. And said that my colleagues had all started looking to me for answers.
I had gone from being the person who was never able to speak up in meetings to being the person leading the meetings.
And it all started with small, simple steps that I took both at work, at school, and even when I was spending time with my friends.
If you’d like to become more comfortable speaking up when you’re in groups, the simplest and most efficient way to do that is to start making sounds whenever you can.
Think about what you can do, right now.
What is something that’s achievable, even if it makes you a little nervous and uncomfortable? And even if it's such a small thing that you can't imagine that it will matter at all?
Because it might seem like a small thing right now. It might seem like there’s a huge gap between that thing that you can do today and what you really want to be able to do.
But I promise, if you keep doing the things you can do, you’ll start to be able to do more and more things.
And suddenly one day, you’ll find yourself speaking your mind without even thinking about it.
Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.
Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.
I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.
Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.
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