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Freedom of expression: The ultimate 5-step guide to share your opinion at work

Voicing your opinion at work is sometimes a delicate walk on a tightrope.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Aug 15, 2018, 08.00 AM IST
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Set yourself free and don’t be afraid to voice your opinions. It can help build confidence in the long run.

Voicing your opinion at work is sometimes a delicate walk on a tightrope. Going against the majority can leave you an outsider, taking on your boss may leave you at risk of getting into their bad books and speaking out at the wrong time may leave you looking silly among your peers. However, if you feel strongly about a topic, you should speak up. But in a way that still lets you keep your job and your friends at work. Here are some tips on how to share your opinion:

Yes, it may seem counterproductive when you want to speak out, but listening is actually the first step if you want to share your opinion in the workplace.

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This way you can gather what the general perspective is about a topic, and plan how you can put across your point in the most respectful and impactful way. When you understand the other side, you are also taken more seriously, when you decide to rock the boat a bit.

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Be positive
Don’t start a conversation by saying, “No” or “I disagree”. These are harsh statements and chances are that your peers and boss’s hackles will rise as soon as these negative words leave your mouth. A better way to put it across is to say you understand and then ask them to consider another perspective — yours. When you treat people with respect, they reflect it back on you. This helps ease potential clashes and actually lets you be heard.

Small signs
Watch out for the cues that your body language is sending out when you’re trying to speak your mind. Do not under any circumstances raise your voice; scrunch up your eyebrows or cross your arms when putting your points across.

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This shows you’re under confident, aggressive or even reluctant to be in the situation. Instead, talk in a moderate tone and keep your arms loosely by your side, without clenching your fists. Relaxed body language will actually make you calmer and help you speak clearly.

The best way to speak your mind is to turn to facts. No one can argue with those. Make sure your opinion is coming from a place of knowledge and do your due diligence before putting your point across. This also helps in letting you focus on the topic at hand instead of rambling, which is often what happens when you have a heated debate. Don’t overthink it If you want to speak up at work, do it.

Don’t overthink it
There are a number of reasons why giving your opinion can actually be a good thing. Your boss will know you are a passionate employee and are willing to stick your neck out for something you believe in. Even if they don’t agree with you, you can learn why you may be wrong or simply just encourage a discussion. You have a voice, learn to use it.

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