In my last group of the year, I asked the members what their biggest triumph was for the year.
I was surprised to hear each of them share about how they really rose to own their voice and advocated for themselves this past year. One woman shared that she has been woefully underpaid and she sent an email to the CEO with all of the comparative data. She acknowledged that she didn’t send it until last week and she wished she hadn’t waited so long; however, she needed that time to find her bravery and send the email. Another woman was promoted to CEO and thought her predecessor would be speeding off into retirement. Instead, she found him meddling in the company and she found her voice to let him know that she was fully capable of running the organization. As each of these women spoke about how they have owned their voices, I could feel my heart swelling with pride at how incredibly powerful these women are and how they used their power for themselves.
In a world where women are increasingly taking on leadership roles, owning your voice and advocating for yourself has never been more important. Whether you’re a young professional just starting out or an executive with years of experience, it’s crucial to know how to speak up for yourself and your ideas. Here are some of the ways my clients have learned to advocate for themselves.
Understanding the Importance of Your Voice
First, it’s vital to understand why your voice matters. Your ideas, experiences, and perspectives are unique and valuable. When you share them, you contribute to a more diverse and inclusive conversation, which leads to better decision-making and problem-solving. Moreover, speaking up can boost your confidence and help you establish your authority in your workplace and even in your field.
1. Know Your Worth
The first step in advocating for yourself is recognizing your worth. Understand that your thoughts, ideas, and feelings are just as valid and important as anyone else’s. Don’t underestimate your knowledge or abilities. If you undervalue yourself, others might too.
2. Practice Active Listening
Active listening isn’t just about being a good listener—it also involves responding and engaging in a way that shows you understand and value what’s being said. This can help you build trust with your colleagues and superiors, making them more likely to listen when you speak up.
3. Be Assertive, Not Aggressive
There’s a fine line between assertiveness and aggression. Being assertive means standing up for your rights and expressing your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a direct, honest, and appropriate way. On the other hand, aggression often involves violating others’ rights or disregarding their feelings.
4. Develop Your Communication Skills
Effective communication is key to advocacy. This includes not only verbal communication but also non-verbal cues like body language and tone of voice. Work on expressing your ideas clearly and succinctly, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
5. Build a Support Network
Having a strong support network can make advocating for yourself much easier. Seek out mentors, join professional networks, or find a women’s leadership coach who has groups like mine that can provide advice and encouragement. Remember, you’re not alone—there are many others who have faced similar challenges and can offer valuable insights.
Work with me
Owning your voice and advocating for yourself isn’t just about speaking up—it’s about believing in your worth, listening and responding assertively, honing your communication skills, and building a supportive network. When you’re ready to own your voice, click here and schedule a time for us to talk. I love helping women step into the power of their own voice.