Overcome quiet nature and passive approach
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If you don't feel comfortable sharing your ideas and views with others, especially bosses above you, you have a big problem. As a matter of fact, you have two problems: you won't go anywhere and you won't contribute to your company as much as you could. So, how to overcome that I-better-be-quiet approach?
First, know that your ideas matter. They may sound brilliant, they may sound stupid, but they are always important. If they are brilliant, great! If they are stupid, you and other can learn something from them. So, in both cases the finale outcome is good.
So, don't censor yourself and say the first thing that comes to mind. You don't have to prepare endlessly before every meeting because you can't be prepared to anything. And, if you are an expert in your field, and we believe you are, you are already prepared. Maybe you don't believe in that but you are. You just need a little bit of courage.
Then don't be afraid to speak if you have radically different opinion and it seems that there's you against all others. It doesn't matter what others stand for, if your ideas are sound, let them be different. Stand your ground and don't adjust your views to views of others.
But what if your boss is against your view and simply says "Bad idea. Anybody else?" Now it's the time to fight back and come with convincing arguments - and passion! - about your idea and to continue to fight for it. Bosses are bosses and their word is the last one but they know very well who fight for their ideas and who will back off after the first "no". Stand firm in your beliefs and that will be noticed.
If you have a problem with expressing your thoughts, speak first. Don't think, just jump in and offer your views of the situation, no matter what it is all about. That will suppress your shy nature and your expertise will lift to the surface. If you speak first, that also carries two important messages to your boss: you are ready to participate here and now; and you don't want to lose time, you want to get things done.
We have one simple advice for shy people - and it works: your ideas are as important as those of other people. That's it. You don't have to go to a long training of public speech just to be able to speak at a meeting in your company. You are not on the 10,000 people stadium, you are among people you see every day. The only thing is to open your mouth and speak. This is the first step and a very important one. After that, everything will be easier. ■
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