There’s no doubt that you want people at work to listen to your ideas. You want to contribute, to be a part of change. After all, you’re the one doing all the work anyway, so you know all the processes and inefficiencies better than anyone. It can be difficult to get heard, especially in a new job where you haven’t really made an impression or established a reputation. Here are some ideas for how you can get heard and make yourself more valuable to the company.
Listen and Learn
Too many people overlook this step when they are trying to establish themselves in a company. The truth is, if you are genuinely interested in listening to and learning from your colleagues, they are much more likely to listen to what you have to say. Remember, you don’t know everything. For good or bad, there is a reason why things are the way they are at your company. Take the time to learn about the company culture and its processes before you form opinions on how it should change.
Come Prepared to Meetings
Many people look at meetings as a waste of time and as another thing they have to sit through until they’re allowed to go back to their desk. Instead, try to see meetings as a an opportunity to learn, and maybe to even share your own ideas. Spend time before each meeting brainstorming and making notes. That way, when you have a chance to speak up during a meeting, you will be fully prepared and ready to articulate your ideas in a way that helps you stand out from your less engaged coworkers.
Use Your Strengths
Not everyone has extroverted tendencies and the ability to confidently announce their ideas to anyone who will listen. Instead of mimicking a personality style that doesn’t suit you, find ways to share your ideas and get heard that play to your strengths. If you’re a great writer, find opportunities to write white papers or blogs for your company. If you are better at articulating your ideas in small groups or one-on-one, seek or create networking opportunities that are smaller in scale.
Getting your ideas heard in the workplace is a slow process. Focus first and foremost on learning about your coworkers and company, and then think about how things might be improved. Don’t be afraid to get shot down. Rejection and failure are all part of the learning process.