I was sitting with a group in the Café when suddenly, everyone stopped talking.
They stared at me in disbelief.
‘I can’t believe you just said that, Linda! ‘
Well, the truth was, neither could I!
I’d gone against all the popular opinions in the press, the TV news items, the radio too.
I’d stopped going with the flow. And, even better, I’d started my own river…
All week there had been nothing but features about the Titanic centenary. The event dominated our news. One hundred years since she sank and so many were drowned.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with marking historic events, none at all, but somehow the amount of coverage given to the whole centenary circus was, in my view, in bad taste and out of all proportion. I’d seen pictures of the Titanic souvenirs, from the totally tacky to the ridiculously expensive. But when I asked myself what was the purpose of all this, I came to the conclusion that it was more about making money, boosting tourism in Belfast for example, where the Titanic Experience has opened, and less about remembering those who died.
I knew I wouldn’t be popular.
But here’s the thing… My opinion was as valid as anyone else’s. I was entitled to state it, so long as I didn’t deliberately cause offence, and I was entitled to be heard.
I stopped going with the flow…and…I started my own river instead.
It’s the same for you.
Are you fed up with…
- being talked over?
- being made fun of?
- being sneered at?
- being told you’re talking nonsense?
- being quiet rather than risking being unpopular by speaking out?
- being afraid to have an opinion?
Here’s what I suggest you do.
Next time a subject comes up that you feel strongly about, wait for a gap in the discussion, and simply say how you feel. Not in an aggressive way, just in simple words.
- Don’t apologise for daring to have an opinion.
- Don’t begin with, ‘I know this won’t be popular but…’, or ‘I know you’ll think I’m silly, but…’, or ‘I know you’ll laugh but…’.
- Take a deep breath and… say what you think. You’ll be surprised. They will listen and take you seriously.
If you’re still unsure about speaking out, don’t rush in. Choose your moment carefully.
Listen to how others express themselves.
Watch their body language.
Listen and watch experienced speakers on TV and see how they speak with authority.
You can do it too. It just takes practice and patience. You have the right to be heard. And you will, if you go about it in the right way.
To sum up…
- Choose your moment.
- Think about what you want to say.
- Learn from the experts.
- Don’t allow the bullies to win.
- Do you have a problem speaking out?
- How do you overcome your reluctance to stop going with the flow?
I didn’t say it was easy, but it feels so good when you finally find the courage to do it…
And… feel free to join the Regulars at the Confidence Café -