Tactfully Voicing Your Opinion

Happy Monday. I hope you had a great weekend. I’ve had a wonderful 6 days of vacation. I actually had a staycation. My daughter was visiting me and I had a great time playing tour guide and tourist in my own town, Las Vegas! Las Vegas truly is an exciting place to live and visit and not only because of the Strip. We went out to Red Rock Canyon which is breathtaking. We saw the Michael Jackson ONE Cirque du Soleil show which is lively and eye-catching.

I am well rested and ready to teach my high-end boot camp this week called World Class Assistant. This is a 4 day certification and designation program. We will have a very intimate group of attendees so each person gets special attention from me. I love teaching World Class Assistant as we dig deep into various topics including: Building a Strategic Partnership, Generational Communication, Being Future Focused, Decision Making, Creating a Career Portfolio and much more.

A World Class Assistant should be able to voice his or her opinion but, of course, you must do it tactfully. When I teach this piece of the program, after I review the strategies, I present the groups with a real-work scenario and then they practice how to effectively voice their opinion.

7 Strategies for Voicing Your Opinion

  1. Think about the words you will use. Words are very powerful. You can change the entire meaning or feeling of your message by changing just one word. When you want to voice your opinion whether to your executive, a group, or peers, think about the words you use and choose them carefully.
  2. Do you have facts to back up your opinion or is it just your opinion? You are less effective without facts. It’s difficult for people to take us seriously when we don’t have facts to back up what we are saying. Let’s say for example that you have to talk to someone about always turning in their monthly report late. You will have much more impact by stating . . . “Bill, in October I received your report on the 18th and it was due on the 15th. In November, I received your information on the 20th and it was due to me on the 15th.” Most people would say, “Bill I always get your reports late.”
  3. Consider your relationship with this person. It is one thing to express you opinion to your best friend at work and a completely different situation when you express your opinion to a senior executive. Of course, you need to be professional in both situations.
  4. Make sure you aren’t personally attacking someone. Focus on the issue, problem, or place of disagreement. Try to be objective. This way a person will be more open to hearing what you have to say.
  5. Is this the best time to express your point of view whether in writing or orally?Consider this from two perspectives. A) Are you in the best of moods right now? If you are upset or just really passionate about what you believe in, it might not be the time to voice your opinion. B) Is it the best time for the other person? If the other person is having a bad day, or they are in a hurry, then you probably should not say anything at this moment.
  6. Consider the receiver. Try to put yourself in their shoes. How do you think they will react to what you will say? Will they be receptive to your viewpoint? This is really important. Often when we express our opinion, we are just thinking of what we see, believe in or want to say. The goal is to have the receiver be open to what we are saying. If you want to be effective and heard, then you will take the time to think about this before speaking.
  7. Make sure you clearly explain yourself or point of view to reduce misinterpretation. There is no guarantee the receiver of the information will understand what we are trying to say. We need to do our very best to communicate clearly and concisely.

I am certain that some time over the next few weeks, you will want to voice your opinion. Make sure you do it in a professional manner.

Joan Burge

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13 thoughts on “Tactfully Voicing Your Opinion”

  1. Melissa Luddeni

    Question regarding a Portfolio and a Digital Portfolio. I have what we jokingly call a split job personality. I have my day job that I love as an assistant. I also have a business I own that i am the CEO of along with being the Chapter President of a International organization.

    Regarding a hard copy Portfolio I do know how to keep the two separate. I am unsure how to do this digitally as I am very new with this concept.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Melissa, great question. It depends on what your side business is. You may include a one-sheet about the skills you’ve acquired running the business but you also don’t want an employer to think you are side-tracked with this other business. You can take the sheet out as you feel it necessary.

      Regarding the work heading up the organization, that’s great to include as well. You may also report skills utilized and job functions of the volunteer role.

      I was able to draw upon my volunteer experience to demonstrate new leadership skills that I had acquired over the course of the year in an annual review. When I lead a team of more then 20 different people on a short term humanitarian trip and led a PR and Marketing Team of a local nonprofit.

  2. Gloria von Gesslein

    Here’s a great book to reference, too. Its called Lifescripts by Stephen Pollan and Mark Levine. It covers many different types of discussions and has 3 differenent scenerios for each one on how the conversation can go. You choose your response based on what the person says. its like a road map before going into a heated or touch situation.

  3. It is hard for me to voice an opposing viewpoint because I hate conflict. It is so much easier just to go along. However, I find it frustrating it when I discover that instead of saying what they really felt, people just went along and agreed with everyone else in the room. I remember that when I am on the other side of the issue, so I’m trying to be more assertive and confident in saying what I really think, or giving my opinion. It’s a tough one for me!

  4. I had a great boss who was more than willing to let me voice my opinion. He also was wonderful at reminding me to temper things a bit when we had certain people in meetings. I learned a lot from that and use those skills when addressing any topic.

  5. Great advice! Sometimes it can be difficult to voice your opinion while not letting your anger or frustration show through. If the other person senses that they are being attacked, it can be very counter productive

  6. Great article! I’ve learned to do this over time and from life experiences, but this article is a great reminder. Words are powerful and they should be used carefully. Not everyone appreciates that, which is a shame….for them and the recipient of those words. Here’s to becoming better communicators!

  7. Katherine Margard

    These are really great guidelines and can work in any relationship – at work, at home, with friends. Thanks, Joan. I value your wisdom!

  8. I especially like #6 because it reminds us to speak to our audience rather than ourselves. Very often we “do unto others as we would have them do unto us” but what if what works for us doesn’t work for others?

  9. SO, SO good! I wish I would have had this before my 9:30 a.m. Monday Huddle. I voiced an opinion about something this morning, chose my words carefully, was clear in the message and then… I backed down!! I have no confidence in this area! I’m working on it!! Thank you for this!

      1. OHH, no! NO worries at all!!! I wasn’t being critical!! Sorry if it sounded that way. I do know that voicing my opinion with confidence is something for me to work on! Sio thankful for these posts this month!!
        Tuesdays motivator could be called “Tackling Tuesdays”!! 😀

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