If you work in an administrative or clerical position, you may feel a bit awkward if your boss or others in your department ask you to voice your opinion about a potentially contentious topic. You might not feel comfortable raising concerns about issues you see around the office. However, you don't have to be afraid to speak up if you do it tactfully. Here are some tips for making your voice heard without offending others.
Think About the Other Person
It's important to think about your work relationship with the person you want to raise concerns to. Acknowledge the difference in your positions, and think about whether the person you want to speak to is especially sensitive to the issue you want to raise. Ask yourself if there are cultural differences that could hinder your communication or generational differences that might add a layer of potential confusion. Once you consider these issues, make a plan outlining how to communicate clearly and effectively to this specific person.
Think About Yourself
Think about your motivation for communicating about the issue. What do you hope to achieve by having this conversation? Are you operating out of any negative emotions, such as spite or anger? Are you depressed or frustrated? If so, wait until you're in a better mood. Remember, what you say is only part of your communication, and your emotions could undercut the message you want to convey.
Choose the Right Time
Maybe you know exactly what you're going to say when you raise concerns with a co-worker, but you must determine the right time to say it. For example, if you think your boss made a foolish suggestion at a staff meeting, blurting out your opinion mid-meeting might be inappropriate. Schedule time to have your potentially difficult conversation, and make sure you can talk in private.
Don't just raise concerns or make your opinion heard about an issue plaguing your office. Present a solution as well, even multiple solution options if you can come up with them. If you don't propose a solution, your boss is less likely to respond to your concerns. Become someone who is dedicated to fixing problems, not just to complaining about them.
Know When to Keep Quiet
In today's world where everyone seems to be making their voices heard incessantly on social media, it can be easy to forget that you always have the option to say nothing. Sometimes, that's the best choice. This is especially important when the conversation veers into religion, politics and other contentious subjects that have the possibility of offending others. When these topics arise, consider removing yourself from the conversation rather than insisting on making yourself heard.
Learning to voice your opinion tactfully is a skill that's of great value in today's workplace. Use these tips to make sure you take a moment to contemplate and gather your thoughts before raising concerns, and stay positive and non-confrontational in all your office interactions.
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