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.
Our 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 behind why you’re asking for that 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 the impact you’ve made.
- Evidence – You need to collect evidence to support your story. For example, you can collect emails from clients about how much they appreciated your work. You can also keep a spreadsheet showing the increase in sales you’ve closed over a specific time period. This evidence will validate the story you tell.
- 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’re talking to 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 can become a strong advocate for anything you want when you have a good story and back it up with evidence and energy.
When you advocate for yourself, you may not always get the answer you were hoping 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 SEE approach.
Consider the following:
- Ask Questions – If you’ve just asked for a raise and your manager said no, you will want to ask questions to understand why they said no. For example, you can ask, “Can you help me understand what you may need to see so I can better position myself for that raise? You can also ask, “What steps can I take today, this month, and this year to get you closer to a yes?” Asking questions will help you refine your story so you can have better results next time.
- Create a YAY! folder – Creating a yay folder is part of building evidence, but it’s a great place to turn to if you are feeling demoralized after a rejection. After getting a no, you may need to boost your confidence so your yay folder will store all the good stuff. For example, your yay folder can be an email someone said about you doing great work. Your yay folder should always remain active.
- Moment In Time – Remember, rejection is just a moment in time and it can help diffuse any negative thoughts from brewing too long. If you get rejected, remember they are rejecting your story, not you. Reframing your story, and collecting evidence to speak to their initial no can help you build the action steps to move forward.
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 already have everything you need to be your own best advocate.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:
- Discover your communications style so you know where to start. Over 4,000 people have found theirs here.
- Attend our monthly communication workshop to build communications confidence (new topics: public speaking, advocating for yourself, building credibility, etc) here.
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