Speak up... nothing gets solved unless you do.

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I was at a conference today and had the opportunity to listen to a speaker named Talli Osborne. Without getting into her story, I think it is safe to say she was inspirational, motivational and will look back on a very rich life when she is eighty-five.  Click here to go to her website. She told many stories, but I was struck with the story when she consciously decided to speak up.

She spoke of a point in her life where she decided to tell people what she thought when asked... instead of shying away; ultimately she got into the habit of telling people what she thought, even when they didn't ask. She started to influence and change things. I remember hearing the same sentiments from a General Manager I knew long ago, who simply said, "if you are not participating in the conversations to manage the business, what value do you offer". He was a little bit more "harsh" than Talli.

The point of speaking up, speaking your mind, and adding to the conversation is extremely important. Not only for yourself, but for whatever issue, problem, idea or plan you are involved with.

Here's what I have learned so far on this topic - 

  • At any given time, you will be the smartest person in the room... so share.
  • If you are shy, please get over it. It serves no one, including your self.
  • If a leader asks, "are there any questions?"... they mean it, so ask.
  • More often than not, if it falls apart it's because the person who had the answer didn't speak up.
  • Engagement is the easiest way to tell everyone you care.
  • Do not assume people "know what you know"...
  • If you want to engage a leader, tell them what you think. They may disagree, but they will respect you. And listen the next time.
  • When you ask a question, you can bet 75 % of the room wanted to ask.
  • Although it can be said a committee created the camel*, more often than not, you end up with a better solution when there are more "voices" involved. 
  • If you don't say it in open forum, you should not be saying it behind closed doors.
  • Speaking to "power" can be intimidating, but it can make things happen.
  • No one knows what you are thinking unless you "say".

Is this easy? It should be, but sometimes it's not. You still have to speak up though... There is no one stopping you...


* It is said that the camel was a horse designed by committee.