It is not always easy to tell people how you feel. If you are shy or if you prefer to avoid confrontation, you may neglect the opportunity to share your opinions or defend what you think they ignore. While it can be intimidating at times, becoming more assertive during discussions can change your life. You will increase your confidence, you will be more determined in your beliefs and you will make people take notice when you participate. Learning to say what you think freely consists of changing your attitude; you should have faith that others are worth listening to what you say.
Part 1 of 3: Learning to Express Yourself
Step 1. Be calm and collected
Before you start talking, calm down and try to calm your nerves. Take slow, deep breaths to the count of ten. Relax and let your ideas stabilize, put aside doubts and other negative ideas. It's normal for you to get anxious when all the attention is on you. The more you control your words and emotions, the better you will behave during a conversation.
Try not to get too irritated when you feel frustrated, and don't get too excited if the topic is one that you are passionate about. Being overly emotional can make it harder to express what you are trying to say
Step 2. Be open to people who make you feel comfortable
Get ready to talk to close friends and family. As you get better, step out of your comfort zone little by little until you are no longer afraid to make your voice heard. Most people find it much easier to express themselves with those who are close to them than with those who are completely strangers, as they worry about being judged.
- Start by offering your opinion in casual conversations where you don't feel too shy about doing so. For example, you might start by making offhand comments such as "Mom, dinner was excellent tonight" or "I'm not really interested in this show, can we watch another one?" Dialogues like these are unlikely to end in an argument or challenge.
- Talking to people with whom you are already familiar will allow you to avoid self-critical ideas and you will be able to focus on your message.
Step 3. Use a firm tone of voice
Speak out loud and clear with a firm, confident tone. Take the time to express your ideas, don't babble or try to speak too fast. Quiet people often go unnoticed not only because of the low volume of their voices, but because of the general demeanor they display that signals to others that they are not worth listening to.
- Developing a compelling voice makes people more likely to take what you have to say seriously.
- Being firm is good. Being authoritarian or strong is not. Know the difference so that you avoid antagonizing your listener.
Step 4. Be confident
Above all, believe in yourself. If not, your words will have no conviction. It is worth remembering that you are a unique person with your own thoughts, values and ideas. If you are not sure to express them, no one will benefit from hearing them.
- If you have to, "pretend until you achieve your goal." Pretend that you are very comfortable sharing an opinion. In the end it will not be seen as something very important.
- Develop confident communication skills. Look the person you are talking to in the eye and use strong and active language. Avoid filler phrases like "Eh", "Like this" or "You know?" as they weaken your impact.
Part 2 of 3: Overcoming the Fear of Confrontation and Ridicule
Step 1. Don't worry about what other people might think
Forget trying to please people. Fear of judgment shouldn't stop the world from knowing how you feel. Not all people are always going to be interested or accept what you say. This shouldn't discourage you from doing yourself justice.
Ask yourself what's the worst that could happen if you express yourself. Once you look closely at the reasons for keeping quiet, you will find that they will start to disappear
Step 2. Believe what you say
Support the validity of your views. In order for your words to have weight, you must recognize the value they have. The important thing is that you have the courage to make your position known, even if those close to you disagree with you. Anxiety about how others perceive you shouldn't stop you from supporting what you think is right.
- Stand firm to your convictions. It is not always easy to muster up the courage to tell someone "You are being selfish" or "I think what you are doing is wrong." However, if you feel an urgent urge to express yourself on a certain topic, it probably means that it is important.
- Express your opinions without shame, but don't force others to accept them.
Step 3. Don't hesitate
When you have the opportunity to speak, take it. Be aware of the debates going on around you and wait for the right moment to contribute. Your listeners may be impressed by what you have to say, leading them to seek your opinions more often. Many people hold back because they are afraid of attracting attention or saying something stupid; however, they never know when they will have another chance.
- Make firm statements and ask thoughtful questions that show initiative. Even saying “I'm not sure I have understood the last point. Could you explain it again? " It will show that you are engaged and that you make an effort to promote an equal debate.
- By the time you develop the courage to speak up, someone else may have already said what you were going to say.
Step 4. Assume that others will agree with you
Stop telling yourself "Nobody wants to know my opinion." Your thoughts are just as legitimate as other people's. In fact, they might actually be in line with those of a majority of people who are too shy to express themselves. If you expect them to laugh at you or contradict you, you are only hurting the way you feel.
Showing your confidence and willingness to speak your claims boldly can inspire others to stand up for their own beliefs more freely
Part 3 of 3: Knowing When to Express Yourself
Step 1. Contribute to insightful discussions
If a conversation can benefit from your participation, get involved. The healthy exchange of ideas is essential in order to be a more understanding person. Usually in a deep and emotional speech, there is an opportunity to learn and to impart a little of your own wisdom.
- You can start comments and opinions with phrases like "I think that …" or "My belief is that …".
- Be mindful of how you present yourself in debates about politics, religion, and ethical issues as it can easily lead to conflict.
Step 2. Get involved in the decision-making process
Be active when making plans or making decisions. Explain your train of thought and make it clear what your preferences are. By not speaking, you lose your voice in the decisions that are made, even if they affect you.
- An action as small as vetoing an option on where to have lunch can make you feel more able to speak.
- If you're not sure if a particular idea can be accepted, make it look like it's just brainstorming. Try something like "Do you think it would work better if we …?" or "What if instead of going to the theater, we snuggle up and watch a movie on the couch?"
Step 3. Don't let silence be mistaken for approval
Not speaking can be misinterpreted as permissiveness or indifference. If you object to something, say so. Take a frank stance on objectionable beliefs, behaviors, and issues in clear terms. Otherwise, you will be just as guilty of the circumstances as the person who created them.
- A dismissive look will never have the same effect as forcefully asking something like, "What makes you think it is acceptable for you to behave that way?"
- You can't change the way things are until you first point out what's wrong with them.
Step 4. Maintain a friendly attitude
Be polite, objective, and willing to listen, even (perhaps especially) when a simple debate turns into an argument. Do your best to always encourage open and respectful communication. The way you conduct yourself during a conversation should serve to set a positive example. Knowing when it's best not to speak up or stifle your desire to express your thoughts is just as important as knowing when to speak up with pride.
- Resist the temptation to be prone to using insults in the middle of a heated argument. The phrase "I'm sorry, but I disagree" implies the same, but without showing hostility. If you can stay calm, the person you are talking to will be much more likely to listen to you and take you seriously.
- Think twice before saying something that you know might offend or be taken the wrong way.
- Be direct, that is, say what you think and do what you say.
- Focus on getting your message across clearly, no matter what it is. The listener never has to guess the meaning of what you say.
- At first, it can be intimidating to muster up the courage to express yourself. For many people, becoming more outspoken and confident can be a lifelong quest. You don't have to change how you are overnight. Just increase your comfort by sharing your thoughts little by little until it is no longer a daunting prospect.
- Practice your listening skills, in addition to honing your communication skills. It is also important to listen to the opinions of other people.
- Restrict or eliminate profanity or profanity from your vocabulary. It can be difficult to take a speaker seriously when they consistently use offensive language.
- Use your best judgment in determining what is and is not acceptable to say. Don't let your mouth get you in trouble.
- Try not to dominate the conversation. Give the other person a fair chance to speak.