Fearlessly Communicating In The Workplace
Do you ever feel like you want to say something at work, but just don’t know how to say it? Or perhaps you’ve said yes to too many projects and need to learn how to say no. The good news is -fearless communication is a skill you can learn.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed author, keynote speaker, leadership expert, and fellow LinkedIn Learning instructor, Dr. Todd Dewett.
They shared key tips and personal experiences about fearlessly communicating in the workplace. This Soulcast Media | Live event is brought to you by our amazing sponsors at NeedThat™
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Fearless communication isn’t about saying whatever you want with zero disregards for consequences and outcomes. Instead, fearless communication is understanding how and when to communicate that’s both serving you and others fairly.
During the Soulcast Media | Live, Dr. Todd Dewett talked about how during his career he saw so many executives not asserting themselves in the workplace. He saw them checking off boxes instead of going after what they truly wanted.
In other words, he saw hard-working super-smart people not reaching their potential. Dr. Todd Dewett felt that in order for these executives to reach their potential, they would have to learn how to fearlessly communicate in the workplace.
1. Saying What Needs To Be Said
There are always things that need to be said at work. Some of these things are easy – like when it’s time to give compliments or when you’re asking a question about an upcoming project. But more often than not, something uncomfortable will arise and conversations will need to be had. So how do you go about ‘saying what needs to be said’?
During the Live, Dr. Dewett and Jessica talked about how to go about saying what needs to be said in a tactful way. They share strategies to consider before speaking.
Context – As much as you may want to shout that something isn’t working – shouting is probably not recommended. Instead, you have to pause and think about the context. In other words, what are the circumstances surrounding what you are talking about and the people involved? This means asking yourself questions like:
- Who are you talking to?
- Who has the authority on this?
- Are there other more important things happening within the department/company?
Once you understand the context, you can better determine how you can approach the issue and with whom to approach it.
Be A Good Performer – Being a good performer means understanding the expectations in front of you. In other words, you still have to do good work. And you still have to respect the people you work for and work with. If you want to be able to say what needs to be said, you have to gain credibility in your workplace.
Share The Workspace – Part of gaining credibility is understanding that you have colleagues who all have to work with you and around you. Using emotional intelligence to be self-aware will help you share the workspace. Fearlessly communicating is not talking down to or about other people you work with. It doesn’t give you a license to say whatever is on your mind.
Once you understand the context and have proven yourself to be a good performer, you now are on a smart productive path to fearlessly communicate what needs to be said.
Sometimes mental barriers can prevent you from saying what needs to be said because you are afraid of what might happen if you do. In our Linked In Learning e-course, Speaking Up At Work, we talk about how to address mental barriers and what to do so you can speak more confidently at work.
2. How to Say No
Saying no can be one of the hardest things to do – and not just at work! There are several reasons why saying no is difficult:
- You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings
- You want to be the person people come to for help
- You want to help, but don’t have time
- You’re afraid of what might happen if you do say no
During the Soulcast Media | Live, Jessica asked Dr. Dewett how someone can say no with tact. Dr. Dewett shared his strategies for understanding why you are saying no and how to implement your why.
When someone asks you to do an extra project or to simply help them, there are a few things you need to do to see if it aligns with what you actually can or want to do.
- Think about where you stand on the subject. What does your gut say? Your initial reaction is usually the one to go with.
- What are the potential benefits and consequences of saying either yes or no?
Once you figured out where you stand – you can make an informed and more confident decision on whether or not you will say yes.
Learning your motivations behind your yes or no will make your communications less scary.
But how can you actually say no? Here are some ways:
- Can I get back to you later? Deferring is almost like saying no, but much more gently.
- Can I help you with this and not that? You are showing that you do want to help, but can only commit to one item on the ask list.
- That’s a little outside the scope of what I need to accomplish today. In other words, this isn’t my job. During the interview, Dr. Dewett emphasized that you shouldn’t abuse using this response!
Remember, you have to be able to say no fearlessly. There is freedom in recognizing your capacity and whether saying yes aligns with your career goals.
💡We recommend the e-course “Learning To Say No” to help you learn how to say no effectively.
3. Presentation Fears
Now that many companies are embracing a hybrid work model, it is inevitable that you will have to make a presentation via video or in person.
During the interview, Jessica asked Dr. Dewett his thoughts on how to communicate fearlessly while giving presentations or public speeches. He had several strategies to help you overcome your fears.
Know your audience – You have to know who you are speaking to. If you are speaking to a group of executives, your presentation (or message) will be different than to a generalized group.
Be prepared – Do your research, do your homework, practice your speech – make sure you are prepared!
Knowing your audience and being prepared are the two biggest things you can do to ease any fears when it comes to public speaking. The top public speakers are always thinking about this. However, if you want to create a presentation that “sticks” you’ll want to make sure it includes this one thing.
Emotions are as or more important than the knowledge you are trying to impart.
That’s because if your content is good, but your delivery is poor, none of the information will stick!
This is a skill that takes hard work and practice. In order to create emotions in your presentation consider the following:
- Reducing the minutes of your presentation
- Using honest commentary
- Showing authenticity instead of rigid professionalism
The more emotions you can evoke, the more your presentation will be remembered. In our LinkedIn Learning e-course, Powerful Presentation Strategies, we talk about how to use emotion via your voice to make a powerful presentation.
Remember, the key to fearless communication is knowing how and when to communicate in an authentic way. As you navigate your career, having strong communication skills will lead to career success.
If you would like to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Dr. Todd Dewett’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
Do you want to learn how to speak up at work and fearlessly say no? Join our private communications group where you can work with our Soulcast Media team on your communications every month!
Sign up for the Soulcast Media Membership today!