I once coached an executive who, at a very young age, had risen to V.P. at a major financial services company in Manhattan. I asked him what he attributed his success to and he told me, “I’ve never been afraid to tell people what I think.” How many of us don’t tell the higher-ups what we think because we’re worried how they’ll react?
It’s important that you appreciate that you’re a smart person who has a unique perspective that deserves to be heard. If you find yourself backpedaling and testing the winds before you speak, then are you providing as much value as you could be?
For those of you who feel held back by fear and anxiety, I highly recommend Susan Jeffers’ book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. Dr. Jeffers gives specific methods for managing anxieties. If you’re hindered by the fear of failure or the fear of speaking up, this book is for you.
Keep in mind that it takes courage to speak up and ask questions in public. Lots of times we fear that those around us may think our questions are dumb, but the odds are that somebody else in the room is thinking the same thing.
Go for it.