Have you ever regretted something that you said?
Or has there ever been a time when you knew you should have spoken up, but you didn’t?
Well, here are some valuable tips to know when to stay silent and when to speak up.
When silence is golden:
- Staying silent can be just as powerful as the words you mean to say, like when the act of hugging will be more comforting than saying, “Sorry for your loss.”
- Another time when silence is golden is when you are unsure of what to say. If you are confused about your own feelings concerning a matter, it’s best to stay quiet until you are more certain because more harm can be done by revealing false or exaggerated feelings.
- Choose silence instead of blurting out ‘in-the-moment’ feelings that are hurtful and not really how you feel in the grand scheme of things. When you feel the urge to say an unkind thing, take a few breaths and think of the possible consequences of your words.
- Another time when it’s best to stay silent is when someone is sharing a meaningful story. Let the friend or person feel ‘heard’ by your silent nodding and sincere eye contact.
- Silence can be your best friend during negotiations. Say your piece, then close your mouth, and let the other person come to their own conclusions. Your silence shows that one, you are confident in what you just said, and two, you respect the other person enough to hear what they have to say.
- Sometimes silence is the best and most timely solution because the other person is not in a position to hear what you have to say. For example, when a friend needs for you to listen to her problems, but she is unable to accept your advice at that moment.
- Practice being silent at work when you don’t have anything meaningful to contribute. Unless you can elevate the conversation by pointing out something interesting, missing, or beneficial, it’s best to just observe and learn.
- Finally, silence is golden when you don’t want to engage in a fool’s argument. As some squabbles will never be resolved, one must agree to disagree.
When to speak up loud and clear:
There will be times in your life where you will need the power of your voice. The voice within you that wants and needs to be respected and appreciated.
- Use your voice and speak up when your feelings are being trampled on. Many things are out of our control, but it is within our power to control the words and feelings that we convey to others.
Articulate your feelings clearly and let people know that you value your well-being.
- Speak up for others who have no voice or are unable to speak for themselves for one reason or another. Your voice may be the only thing that saves and protects them from harm.
- Speak up when you see a wrong being done as silence could be seen as complicit agreement.
One can view speaking up as the truest act of humanity, since as far as we know, we are the only animals who can do it.
- Speak up when you are asked for your opinion as the person doing the asking must value it.
- Finally, speak up when you want to be heard. Whether in the work place or in a relationship, if you believe what you have to say is valuable, don’t be afraid to open your mouth.
The ability to speak up takes a level of confidence, but just like all skills, someone only needs to practice in order to get better.