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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