photo: &Other Stories
Most of us are constantly using our voices at work. Asking for help, asking for clarification, gossiping about the weekend. But some people find it more difficult to speak up at work than others. And that’s not a bad thing at all. If you prefer to just get on with it, you’ll go just as far as your extroverted colleagues.
I find it difficult to ask for what I want. I won’t lie. Speaking up and getting to the point aren’t easy. It’s not that I’m an introvert, just that I lack that little push of confidence to cut to the chase. I watch my colleagues banter and go for drinks and I wonder if I should try harder to speak up and fit in. I’m new, so everything is a little scary. But I decided to fake it for a week. Here’s what I learned…
#1 Speaking up helps people figure you out
Even the best manager won’t be able to help you out if you aren’t speaking up. People probably thought I was the new girl that was shy. After I joined in with a few jokes and told my manager about the things I struggled with, people seemed to greet me with a smile.
My job got a lot easier. People now had a better idea of what kind of person I was, and what my strengths were.
#2 You won’t get what you don’t ask for
Nobody is a mind reader. Even if you’re just hoping for an invite to the after-work drinks, they probably think you have better things to do.
Be explicit about the work that you want, and be ready to back up your request with reasons why you’re the best person for the task. It’s hard, but if you’re in the ‘fake it’ mindset, it’s easier. Sasha Fierce it.
#3 It’s not easy to fake it
No, it’s not. Especially when you’re second guessing your every move. But, if you just start with ten minutes of ‘faking it’ a day, it becomes easier to talk openly. In the office, you need to forget the fact that you don’t know anybody because you’ll need to talk to them and ask them questions and might even get into disagreements sometimes.
Faking my confidence was a hit. Co-workers were saying there was something different about me. And I actually felt more positive. I started to think I wasn’t faking it anymore.
#4 You’ll be surprised by how much you grow
No, I’m not saying you won’t go far if you’re not confident. And I certainly wasn’t, but I gave it a good go. And nothing terrible happened. I stumbled over my words the first few times I was doing something outrageous like asking my boss why we were doing what we were doing. But by the end of the ‘fake it’ week, I feel like a much stronger part of the team.
I haven’t stepped on anybody’s toes and…guess what. I am going for after-work drinks!
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