Imagine you’re with people you know and someone broaches a topic – a topic you know very little about if anything at all. As everyone else is offering their opinions and suggestions, you remain silent.
Recall a moment when, you were scheduled to give a presentation at school or work, and immediately, you were overcome with anxiety.
There have been times when some of us, including myself, have not had the strength to speak up, speak out and be loud. Be it during public discourse, at work, or elsewhere, it has been difficult to say what’s on your mind, and, to speak your words with confidence.
In relations to speaking out, some people have never seen themselves as a leader or alpha. Truthfully, you need not be the boss to speak your mind. This being the case, if you have been classified as one who isn’t a leader, sidestep the results of the Meyers-Briggs test.
If your color is blue and you want to be red, you can make the switch. To change colors, I suggest adherence to the following four principles:
Before moving onward, I’d like you to think of a time when you were afraid to speak out. What thing(s) held you back from speaking your mind? For the remainder of this post, I will explain the above said four point formula for verbal confidence and how these advisory points can help you find your bravado when needed.
Adaptability is a powerful talent. To survive or better yet thrive, you must be able to adapt to any environment or set of circumstances. Don’t get me wrong – it’s always best to be real and true to who you are.
However, occasionally we all must acclimate to the given climate and conditions of where we are, or with whom we are around. And sometimes the whom plays a more critical role than the where as a deciding factor on how well, if at all, you can adapt. On any given day, your spirits could be as high as a falcon until you find yourself in the company of a particular person or people.
For instance, there have been many occasions when women have struggled as a minority group among the dominant status quo known as Men. It is true that the landscape has changed as more women are earning higher grade professional jobs and the sisterhood has gained momentum and a voice. However, some women still find it difficult to share their opinions and thoughts.
Psychologist and counselor, Kim Gaines Eckert, is familiar with the waning of the female spirit in a male-dominated setting. In her book, Stronger than you think, Dr. Eckert wrote, “reflect for a moment on the last group discussion you participated in with both men and women. How did the women speak in comparison to the men? Were the women likely to make disclaimers before they spoke, such as, “I could be wrong, but…” or” This is my only opinion, but…”
In support of Dr. Eckert’s quote, those same disclaimers have been made by men, including myself. Likewise, the inability to speak up, or vocal paralysis as I’d like to call it, isn’t limited to women. A guy could find himself at a loss for words while in the company of other men. Like, for instance, while around other men, as the given topic of debate is in full bloom, the guy who is silent may have the best perspective or remedy, but chooses to remain quiet.
Furthermore, how often have you or someone you know bowed in the presence of certain people? If this is you, then you must adapt, switch your color to red and speak, no holds barred. But how??
Beneath the surface is a trait that empowers people, extroverts and introverts, to speak out. This trait is one of the vehicles of the fleet of awesomeness – it’s called courage.
Before I grew the stones to speak in public, I had no voice. No style. Zero personality.
I was nothing but a talking-walking bundle of nerves. The bigger the stage, the more afraid I was. The bigger the moment, the more likely my biological detonator would trigger an implosion.
Initially, as most public speakers who are scared as shit, I spoke in one tone: low. With training from a great Speech Communications professor, and a lot of hard to improve, I began to believe in myself. My self-belief in myself as an orator enabled me to circumvent my fear of the big stage. I began to speak more and more, but with a different diction. My tone of voice became louder, and, with each word delivered, I grew more confident.
Yes, I was courageous in other aspects of life, but suffered when speaking before other people. To overcome vocal paralysis, first, I had to develop the courage to get on the stage with confidence. And with courage, I found my strength, while burning the muzzle that subdued my voice.
As with outspoken people, or those who can and will speak when necessary, they have no problem speaking out. Brave people will express themselves, even if they’re the only minority among a majority that doesn’t favor them. Their bravery enables them not to give a damn what anyone thinks.
So where does this bravery come from? Some were born with it – others acquired it through counsel and self-improvement.
As for INFJ personalities, or those who lack courage, how can one retain their damns and fucks to give nothing but their opinion instead? In other words, how can one sidestep caring about the criticism of other people for the sake of bravery?
The reason for zero bravery and vocal paralysis is fear – the fear of looking bad – the fear of ridicule from toxic people.
The remedy: believe in what you’ve got to say and saying it, without restrictions or second guessing yourself.
Personally, I gained the confidence to speak in public through believing in myself. Believing in myself was partially predicated on having sufficient knowledge of my presentation or a topic of discussion, thereby feeling confident in what I had to say. I gained the confidence to speak my mind via acquired wisdom of the human race, specifically when I realized that no one is perfect.
THE POWER AND SPLENDOR OF KNOWLEDGE
Going back to the very first scenario, revisit a time when you were with people you know, and someone broaches a topic for discussion. As everyone is offering their opinions and suggestions, you remain silent because you’re afraid to voice your thoughts. To intensify this scenario, those people, or some of them, are individuals who have embarrassed you once or twice for being wrong.
Following such an embarrassing moment, the gait of your step becomes deflated, as does your confidence. You lose your ferocity and your courage. You begin to second-guess yourself – so severely that you choose not to speak and argue your opinion. Generally speaking, some people have an undeniable crippling effect on others.
However, having sufficient knowledge empowers you to speak and also helps to eliminate stage fright. You see, when you honestly know what you’re talking about – so much that you can stand behind your words without second-guessing yourself – you eradicate fear. By the way, if someone wants to be an ass and challenge you, it’s easy to take them on, word for word, and defend your statements, all because you know your shit. When you’ve got a firm grip on your subject matter, you believe in your thoughts and words; you can speak out with ease and confidence.
THE POWER AND SPLENDOR OF WISDOM
Aside from knowing your stuff, there is something called wisdom. Through observation of other people, wisdom taught me that no one is perfect. There is no one, and I mean no one who knows everything. Accordingly, I can find comfort in this truth, mainly if engaged in an opinion-based conversation.
Adopting this truth brings everything back down to earth, as sometimes we uphold the thoughts and views of others to a higher standard. But to standardize the playing field, regardless of how popular or smart your counterparts are, they’re people, just like you. And people are flawed. We all have our challenges and weaknesses.
You may never see or know of any challenges associated with the person or people who ridicule your commentary. Just know that those flaws exists. In accepting this fact wholeheartedly, it helps to stave off the anxiety that stifles your will to speak up, because you now realize your critics and haters are imperfect people. Furthermore, the incessant need to say the perfects things isn’t a necessity. If what you say is wrong, then so what. And when or if someone criticizes your commentary, your cognizance of that persons flaw(s), whatever they may be, minimizes the weight of their hate.
FIND YOUR VOICE
Before closing, I’d like you to recall the time or times in which you failed to speak out. Also, think back on the reason(s) that muffled your voice. Looking back, with what you now know, how would react? Would you retain your right to remain silent? Or, would you speak out?
Most of us believe that we know ourselves very well. We know our strengths and weaknesses. And seemingly so, we know the areas we dominate and control. Lack of judgment and the inability to believe that you can be and do more are detrimental – detrimental as in you or others build categorical boxes for yourself: Athletic types are only athletes – Artsy people are just artists – Intellectuals are dull and bland. These labels will stick if you allow them. Your “box” will become your eternal home if you fear to venture inward to find and develop your hidden strengths from within.
having said that, defy the odds. Remember, you need not be the prototypical alpha to be heard, nor voice your opinions when needed. Instead, dig deep and utilize the skills noted in this message. When you see fit, and certainly, when you’ve got something important to say, just say it. The more you speak up and speak out, your tone of voice, level of confidence and rhetorical effectiveness will improve – trust me.
Get Acclimated. Be Courageous. Gain Knowledge. Be Brave. Speak Out!