The Power of Talk: How to Improve Your Ability to Voice Your Concerns

You are sitting at your desk, rocking nervously in your chair, replaying the conversation between you and a coworker on a loop.

You should say something, something to express your discomfort with the statements made, but how?

Is the workplace the right space to bring up your concerns? Can you manage to stay calm if the person disagrees?

You decide not to say anything and leave the conflict unresolved.

In the following weeks, though, tension builds in subtle ways. You feel less confident and respected by your coworker, and the workplace feels like a room full of eggshells.

The ability to express concerns to others is essential for the vitality of relationships. When we can communicate effectively, we prevent both personal and relational damage that unresolved concerns create.

How to Find Your Voice

An effective guide to consider while improving your ability to voice concerns is to focus on three key factors:

  • Stress management
  • Assertion
  • Engaged listening

Let’s consider each more deeply

Stress Management

One of the most detrimental things you can do while voicing your concerns is to lose your cool. It is easy to lose control of the conversation when you become too stressed to focus on how your thoughts are being delivered. Keeping your emotions in check will prevent the other person from becoming defensive and closing themselves off from suggestions.

One method for preventing stress during such conversations is to make only one point at a time. Often, we can become overly excited and start spilling out everything that we have taken issue with at once. This can be too overwhelming for the other person and can derail the conversation. Make one point and let the other person respond to that point before moving on.

Another method for managing stress can be giving yourself the proper time to respond. Ask questions and then ask for clarification so that you have time to process what the other person is saying before responding. This method keeps both parties on the same page throughout the conversation, eliminating confusion that leads to frustration.

Assertion

When you learn to assert yourself among peers, you can gain both confidence and respect which encourages others to want to listen and consider your opinions.

Several techniques can help improve how you communicate with others. These include:

  • Being specific
  • Choosing the appropriate time and place to bring up the concern
  • Coming with solutions already in mind

When you prepare your narrative in advance, you will be more likely to deliver your ideas with confidence and clarity.

Engaged listening

Don’t forget; there is another person or persons who have their own opinions and feelings. In order to be heard, you must also be a listener. It is this exchange of respect that fosters healthy solutions.

Body language is an important form of expression that you can use to indicate to others that you are actively listening to them. Don’t cross your arms, turn your body away from the person, scowl, roll your eyes, or shake your head in disagreement. Rather, try nodding in agreement and maintaining eye contact.

You can also reassure the other person that you are listening by repeating parts of their statements back to them in your answers. For instance, you could say, “I understand that you feel frustrated by the direction of the meeting. What I would like to express is…” Additionally, try not to cut off the other person while they are speaking as this disrespects their right to voice their concerns.

Voicing our concerns is an important part of interpersonal relationships. Plus, it is something you can easily improve through conscious decision making. In fact, anyone can achieve positive results with patience, understanding, and clarity.

 

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