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Rookies, speak out!

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How do your colleagues perceive you?  Are you heard when you have a piece of information to contribute or are you over powered?  Is your boss impressed with your feedback or stumped by your silence?  As a young professional working with a group of seasoned business professionals, one thing that I have learned is that contributing to projects means more than handing in your piece of the puzzle; it means taking an active role and being engaged with the task at hand.

It can be intimidating to be “the new guy” or the rookie in the office and turning your voice down can be all too easy when you are surrounded with experienced business professionals.  Speak up and contribute to every project you are involved with!  Your experienced counterparts will appreciate your attempts and even if you’re dead wrong, now you can be corrected and able to seize the opportunity to learn something from these masters of the business world.  Not only can progress be made about the topic at hand but these are your opportunities to practice for future business interactions.  Involvement in your internal environment is the perfect time to groom yourself for your future, build your confidence, and perfect your presentation when speaking with other business professionals. 

Demonstrating confidence and the ability to contribute can never serve you wrong.  There is always something to be taken from a discussion. You might leave a conversation with a whole new outlook, or you might inspire your supervisor to see a situation in a new light.  I’m not talking about ignorance, so don’t speak just for the sake of speaking. When you have thoughts running through your mind ensure that you get them out on the table in an appropriate and professional manner.  Your co-workers will gain respect for your ability to share ideas and play an active role in the team.

 One of the reasons new talent is hired by organizations is to gain a more current view, “keep with the times”, and stay cutting edge.  Entry level might sound way down on the totem pole but in reality it is very important to an organization’s ability to be adaptable and stay leading edge.  So keep listening, absorbing, and offer your angle. It could be the ticket to your career growth, help you gain trust and responsibility, and enable you to manage challenges so that you are always improving.

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About the Author:

Coralee is the “rookie” of the office, but she doesn’t let that slow her down! Armed with a Bachelors degree in Human Resource Management, experience working with her family’s private business, and a forward thinking nature she is ready to take on anything that is thrown her way. Coralee has a talent for achieving forward motion. Her fresh perspective and ability to “think outside the box” adds a crisp quality to her contribution in projects. Determined to develop her career in Human Resources, she has landed in just the right spot, rubbing shoulders with a variety of dynamic seasoned professionals. Coralee graduated from Dickinson State University where she competed on the Varsity Athletics Rodeo Team for the Blue Hawks. Coralee is an accomplished cowgirl having competed at various levels of rodeo throughout the United States and Canada. Her love for animals doesn’t stop at horses she is the proud owner of a 90 pound Staffordshire terrier named “Chauncey”.

Discussion

  1. Jenna Slater  June 18, 2012

    Sometimes it is easier said then said. What I am trying to say now is that in the heat of a packed office it can be very intimidating to speak up. Statistic say that people fear public speaking before death. It can be easier to speak one on one with colleagues but then you are left trying to spread the idea. If you remember playing ‘telephone’ as children you know how well that works. So what are your suggestions for speaking up in front of the crowd?

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    • Peggie Koenig  August 24, 2012

      Dear Jenna, thank you for the insightful comment! And I apologize for the delayed response. Your comparison to public speaking is not quite the right angle to this discussion. The stats you provide about public speaking is referring to taking the stage, entering the spot light, presenting an item in a formal setting for public speaking or stepping behind a podium to a full room of silent people waiting to hear your response. The “speak out” point I mean to drive home pertains to group meetings, project discussions, and office meetings. This is speaking out in a less formal setting where there is open discussion. Trying to spread an idea one on one is indeed ineffective thus the importance of being engaged in a discussion and sharing your opinion even as a rookie. I do however recognize that many people even in an open discussion may feel hesitant to speak up and this is why I wrote the blog to particularly address the rookie with shaky legs, too nervous to make a sound. So with that, some pointers for all you quieter folks to keep in the back of your head next time you are in office or group meeting:
      • Take the plunge. You will never overcome your fear if don’t ever speak up. Do it once and the easier it will get. Soon it will become learned if you’re not a natural.
      • Be prepared. If you have a topic you feel needs to be brought forth, be knowledgeable about it, think about all of the questions that will surround it and come prepared. Knowledge is confidence and this will give you the courage to speak out knowing that you have a intelligent bit to add.
      • Take Criticism and use it. If you’re dead wrong or someone brings up a point that you didn’t see coming at all, take it for what it is, and use this as a learning opportunity. Retain the information and next time you will be that much more prepared.

      Coralee Bulani

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  2. Leanne  September 4, 2012

    Great post, Coralee! I’ve always been the newest and youngest employee, and have definitely found that speaking up gets easier with time. Continuously building on the trust and relationships with my boss and co-workers has also helped make it easier to speak my mind. I wholeheartedly agree with the statement that one of the benefits of being a new employee is that you have a fresh outlook and perspective on the organization. I’ve always tried to use this to my advantage as much as possible. My favourite tip for speaking up more is to ask questions. Instead of trying to say the most brilliant thought-provoking thing, start small and build up and get better with every meeting. That way, when you do have the great idea to share, you have built the confidence to share it with the group!

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    • Coralee Bulani  September 7, 2012

      Leanne,

      Thank you for your comments! I completely agree with your suggestion of asking questions to help ease yourself into the discussion, build confidence and ensure you have a thorough understanding of the topic. Thank you for the contribution!

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