A Guide to Speaking Up at Work When You're Shy

By Brittany Hawes on July 9, 2018

Speaking up at work when you’re shy can be a difficult task. Coming from a girl who can often get tongue-tied around others, I personally understand the struggle of speaking up in a work environment. I started working when I was around sixteen years old. I learned very quickly that if you don’t voice your opinion at work, people will start to doubt that you have one. Your opinion may even become discredited. After all, if you don’t have much to say, you must not have anything important to contribute.

First of all, banish that line of thinking and don’t let other people make you think like that. No matter how quiet you are, you have a voice and it deserves to be heard. It’s alright to be shy and it’s definitely okay to be yourself, but it’s important to let your voice be heard as well. You have opinions and they matter. It can be a battle to get those opinions out of your head and lay them on the table for all to see. Just don’t give up! You can do it.

There might be a number of reasons you feel as though you need to speak up at work. Maybe you think that you deserve a raise, or maybe you’re having trouble with a coworker, but don’t know how to bring it up to your supervisor. You may have a great idea that you’d like to share with the company. You might feel like you’re being treated unfairly by someone in a higher position than you. No matter what the situation is, you can handle it, even if you’re shy.

Read on to find a guide that will help you overcome your shyness and face these issues head-on. Speaking up at work when you’re shy is a possibility! I hope that these following ideas will help you get the job done.

speaking up at work when youre shy

Image via Pixabay.com

Practice what you need to say beforehand

This might seem like something you’d do to prepare for a public speaking class instead of a real-life situation. Don’t write this idea off as being silly just yet. Preparation is the key to success. It can be easy for shy people to get nervous once they’re face-to-face with another person. Your mind starts reeling, and you start panicking, and the next the thing you know … you’ve forgotten half of the things you wanted to tell this person, be it a coworker or your supervisor.

That’s a problem. Nervously spewing half of your message isn’t why you wanted to talk to the person. You want to make sure that you state everything that needs to be said. That’s where practicing comes in. If you take the time to practice for a few minutes before you have to face the real situation, you will find it easier to recall everything that needed to be said.

Sit in front of the mirror and practice what you want to say to this person (or group of people) for a couple of minutes to an hour. Make sure you cover everything! It might help you to remember if you write down a list of points you’d like to address. Read over them a couple of times, then practice without looking at your paper. Pretty soon, you’ll have it memorized. Just remember, when you get in front of the people you need to talk to, take a deep breath and do it just like you rehearsed. It will curb your anxiety knowing that you have what you want to say memorized.

Remember your strengths

If you’re a college student, you might find that you’re among the youngest of employees to work at your job. This may make you feel like you should listen to those who are older than you or that you have nothing to contribute. Get rid of those thoughts, pronto! You have so much to offer your job, including a fresh, new perspective. If you’re too scared to offer your perspective, you’re really doing a disservice to your company!

Never doubt what you bring to the company. You have your own strengths and viewpoints that are valuable; don’t let yourself think otherwise! If you’re shy, your mind will try to keep your voice locked up. You’ve got to remind yourself of your strengths and let your voice be heard!

See if you can talk to a supervisor one-on-one

Do you get shy or nervous when you are made to speak in a large group of people? It might be easier for you to pull your supervisor aside and ask if you can speak to them alone, preferably in their office. At times, it’s just easier for shy people to focus when there is just one person that you need to voice your opinions to.

Shyness can stop you from reaching your full potential in the workplace, if you’re not careful. Speaking up at work when you’re shy isn’t always easy but it is the right the thing to do. You’ll feel much better sharing your opinions rather than keeping them bottled up inside of you.

Good luck!

Hi there! My name's Britt and I'm a senior majoring in English major at Florida State University. I have these crazy, big dreams of traveling the entire world and writing novels in my spare time. I love music, food, and the Japanese culture. I plan on teaching English in Japan upon graduation from Florida State. My first YA novel, Twisted, was published by Deep Sea Publishing Company in 2014. It won a Readers' Favorite Book Award that same year. Alongside schoolwork, I'm working hard on the second book in the Twisted series as well as a number of other novels.

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