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Why is speaking up so hard?

Updated: May 3, 2019


Results of our survey:


Some of the reasons why we don't speak up:

  • I don’t know enough to contribute meaningfully.

  • Speaking up won’t change the outcome.

  • I worry I'll take up too much space.

  • Others may judge me.

What are the biological reasons for not speaking up?

  • Temperament - the nature we're born. Whether we're more introverted or extroverted.

  • Communication style and preferences - how we encode memory. Whether we're predominantly visual, auditory, or tactile.

What are the psychological reasons for not speaking up?

  • The Big Five personality traits - openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism.

  • Our attachment style and how we respond to authority.

  • The expectations of the culture we live in, past experiences and what we're feeling in the present.

Ways to speak up more:

  • Create two questions to ask.

  • Interject by stating the moderator’s name and saying "we might also consider..."

  • Agree or disagree verbally with what’s been said.

Ways to speak up less:

  • Ask clarifying questions.

  • Allow others to go first.

  • Master your ability to pause.


If you'd like to learn about speaking up, email me at lisa@lisaaskins.com.


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