Speaking up with the intent to be heard is different than speaking up. While both require courage, speaking up with the intent to be heard requires commitment.
Speaking up with the intent to be heard requires more energy. It may require you repeating yourself in the same meeting and in different meetings. It may require you to say it verbally and then to send an email summarizing what was said. You may even need to pull your boss aside to create an intentional pause in their day, so you get their undivided attention.
Everyone knows the person who says something after the meeting is already done in the form of gossip as opposed to saying what needs to be said in the meeting while the meeting participants who would potentially benefit from your feedback are in attendance. Everyone also knows the individual who has the courage to speak up once and then pats themselves on the back, telling themselves at least they did their part.
It is uncomfortable. It takes vulnerability to say what you need to say no matter who is listening or what the popular opinion is of the moment. However, if framed differently, perhaps the anxiety of speaking up can be diminished.
Frame speaking up with the intent to be heard as being an expectation, a necessary requirement to be on the team. It is part of your job. Think of speaking up with the intent to be heard, as having nothing to do with who you are, and rather think of it as a service to the team, the board, your leader. You are providing a service by being sure they hear what you say.
What makes speaking up with the intent to be heard so important? This world is getting louder and faster. Leaders need people in their lives committed to getting their attention and making sure they are hearing the concerns of those they lead. This can only happen if we all commit to speaking up with the intent of being heard. You lose your right to be silent when it comes to a safety concern, a defining financial commitment, a decision impacting the quality of life for humans.
It’s your job to speak up with the intent to be heard.