How to Speak Up

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Push back, an attempt at influencing others to move or change position, is something we all need to be able to do effectively.  For example, you’re in a meeting and the group reaches agreement on a direction that you know will not work.

Or the word has come down:  you’re not even in the running for the position you wanted.

Each of these situations could represent a good time to speak up and push back – to put forth your best effort to influence others to change their position.

What keeps you from advocating for yourself and the greater good?  FEAR…the gut-wrenching discomfort of rocking the boat, being seen as a problem, labeled as a complainer, or not being liked.

To shift this pattern,  first, believe you have a right and responsibility to respectfully raise concerns and share your informed point of view. Then use statements similar to the following to initiate push back and open up dialogue.

“I’m going to play the devil’s advocate concerning the action we’ve agreed to take.  Look at this another way…”

“With all due respect, I have concerns about our direction.”  State your concerns and ask, “Who else sees it similarly?”

“I’m concerned about the impact of this decision because…  We need to look at this more thoroughly.”

“We’ve been talking about this for a while and have made a decision.  But, before we walk out of here, I have to ask us to consider…  We owe it to [our team, company, employees]”

It’s the wise and courageous who make a positive difference.

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