Have you ever made a suggestion in a meeting and no one noticed? Then moments later someone else had the same idea, which was then applauded? Do you ever feel as though your message is just landing with a thud?

Why is that?

We’re not heard by others when we lack confidence, clarity, and credibility. If we are not in lockstep with our message, then it will just drift around the room and not be noticed or respected. And that can feel demeaning, frustrating, or even like a kick in the gut.

To avoid that, try using one of the following ways to shift your approach and step into a more powerful position.

  • Don’t wait for permission. If you are waiting for someone to open a space for you to step into, it will likely never happen. Believing that you have a seat at the table and that your voice matters comes across by how you insert yourself. Make the decision to express your ideas – no matter how uncomfortable it may feel. Practicing this outside of professional settings is a great place to start.
  • Say it like you mean it. Sit up, look others in the eye, and say it with 100% confidence – even if it’s something you’re not sure of. You do not need to have all the answers to speak with confidence. If you’re wrong, then be wrong and move on. As you do this, choose your words carefully. Avoid minimizing language like, “just” “a little” or “try.” Speak in action verbs: “I will” “we can” “this is” etc.
  • Get to the point. The goal is to make a point using as few words as possible. Are you saying more than is necessary? Stop that.
  • Control your voice. What do you sound like? Are you speaking from your gut or your head? Try recording yourself, it may make you squirm, but it’s the only way to hear your own voice. When you’re speaking, use complete sentences and pause for impact. The natural arc of a sentence is to end the sentence on a lower pitch; don’t turn your statements into questions.
  • Look the part. How do you want to come across? Professional, laid back, educated, ambitious? How you dress, move, and position yourself sends a strong message, and you are the producer in charge of that message. If you want to be respected and taken seriously, then insert yourself in the world as someone who takes herself seriously.

The best way to be heard at work is to know that you and your voice add value. Don’t wait for someone else to change their behavior or fix the situation for you. The only person who can make this happen is you. Not sure if you’re ready? If you’ve reached the end of this article, then my friend, you are ready.

For more great communication techniques, contact Maria at: Maria@MariaLynnJohnson.com

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