Advocating For Yourself At Work

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Advocating For Yourself At Work

Advocating For Yourself At Work

Learning to advocate for yourself is one of the most important skills you can learn for career success. You have to be your own best advocate. According to a recent study, 22% of people didn’t ask for a raise simply because they lacked the skills necessary to communicate what they wanted clearly. Advocating for yourself is a skill you can learn.

advocating for yourself at workOur CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn, where she interviewed the CEO of Advocate to Win, Heather Hansen.

They shared tips and personal stories about advocating for yourself at work.


1. Change What People See

To change someone’s perspective, you must change what they see. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Heather explained her SEE method to help you change what others see.

Consider the following:

  • Story – You have to have a story about why you should have the thing you want. What you want could include a raise, promotion, or more resources. The key is to tell a story that resonates with the person you are asking, not you. For example, if you want to ask your manager for a raise, you will want to tell a story about how valuable you are to your manager, and by getting a raise, you won’t consider leaving the company. 
  • Evidence – You need to collect evidence to support your story. You need to collect your evidence intentionally. For example, you can collect emails from clients about how much they appreciate your work. You can also keep a spreadsheet showing the increase in sales you’ve closed over a specific time period. The evidence you collect needs to back up the story you tell. advocating for yourself at work
  • Energy – You need to have an energy of belief and credibility, so people actually believe you. If you don’t believe in yourself, the person you ask won’t either. For example, you’ll want to consider your body language and tone of voice. Are you making good eye contact with the person you are talking to? If your shoulders are slumped, and your tone of voice is down, you won’t seem confident in yourself. However, if your shoulders are back, and you are sitting up straight, you will appear confident in your ask.

You become a strong advocate for anything you want when you have a good story and back it up with evidence and energy.


2. Maximize Your Ask

Once you’ve created your story and have collected the evidence, you want to ensure you are maximizing your ask. This means, ensuring you are aligning your objectives, understanding the other person’s perspective, and creating an army of supporters who will advocate for you.

Consider the following:

  • Listening – Before you advocate, you must see things from the other person’s perspective. You want to see what’s valuable to your manager. The way to do this is by listening. For example, let’s say you want to ask for a raise. However, you must show your manager why this raise will serve them. Your department’s productivity is mainly due to the systems you’ve created. You know productivity is very important to your manager. When advocating for a raise, you will want to include this so your manager can see you’ve thought about it from their perspective. If you never see anything from someone else’s perspective, you will never change their perspective. 
  • Align Objectives – Aligning objectives will help you when advocating for yourself. For example, you need to ask for additional hires because the workload is too significant. You will want to consider the company’s objectives when you ask for more resources. If the company’s goal is to be the leading software development company in the country, and more resources will help the company accomplish this objective, you’ve successfully aligned your objectives. 
  • Create An Army Of Supporters – When advocating for yourself at work, it would help to create an army of supporters who will talk about you when you aren’t in the room. This is a very valuable resource. For example, let’s say you are advocating for a promotion. Your manager may ask some of your colleagues, or people from other departments, about how well you work with others and their opinions of you. If you’ve built an army of supporters, they will all sing your praises to your manager for you.

When you understand the other person’s perspective and what is important to them, you will maximize your ask and be more likely to get what you want.



3. Rejection

When you advocate for yourself, you may not always get the answer you hoped for. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica, and Heather said it is important not to let rejection stop you from advocating for yourself. Instead, use the rejection to better refine your story.

Consider the following:

  • Ask Questions – If you asked for a raise and your manager said no, you will want to ask questions to understand better why they said no. For example, you can as, “Can you help me understand why the answer is no?” Or you can ask, “Can you help me understand what I could do to make the answer yes?” You could also ask, “What steps can I take today, this month, and this year to get closer to a yes?” Asking questions will help you refine your story so you can have a better result the next time you ask. advocating for yourself at work
  • Create A YAY! Folder – After getting a no, you may need to boost your confidence and remind yourself you’re doing an excellent job. Create a YAY! folder. For example, anytime someone says something positive about you and your work – put it into your YAY! folder. You can use this YAY! folder to keep you going after being rejected. You can also use this folder to collect more evidence to back up the story you want to tell.
  • Moment In Time – Rejection is just a moment in time, and you always have another moment. If you get rejected, you need to remember they are rejecting your story, not you. Reframe your story, and collect evidence to speak to their disbelief or reasons for saying no. Getting a no doesn’t mean you stop advocating for what you want. 

No one wants to get rejected; however, instead of letting rejection stop you from advocating, use it as a learning opportunity to refine your story, collect more evidence, and believe in yourself.

No one can advocate for you as well as you can. You have everything you need to be your own best advocate.

Check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel if you want to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Heather’s conversation.


Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:

  1. Discover your communications style so you know where to start. Over 4,000 people have found theirs here.
  2. Attend our monthly communication workshop to build communications confidence (new topics: public speaking, advocating for yourself, building credibility, etc) here.
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