Primary Blog/Communication & Public Speaking/Overcoming Fear to Speak Out and Get Noticed by Your Higher-Ups

Overcoming Fear to Speak Out and Get Noticed by Your Higher-Ups

Thursday, April 27, 2023

We’ve all had this experience: you’re in a room with your colleagues and manager, with a great idea on the tip of your tongue. But you’re nervous to speak up and the moment passes. You leave the meeting without ever sharing your idea, suggestion, or insights.

Whether it’s fear, nerves, or just something you don’t normally do, speaking up in a meeting can be challenging. It’s a frustrating experience when you have something to say but end up leaving the meeting without saying it! After all, speaking up in a meeting is a great way to be noticed by higher-ups and receive benefits like a promotion or new project.

There are three main principles to help you speak up at work. They are: have congruence, have something good to say, and introduce yourself properly.

1. Have Congruence

Congruence is about creating alignment between your beliefs and the outcome that you desire to manifest. These beliefs hold you back from speaking up in meetings.
You may believe that you are not the type of person who speaks up in meetings, or that there’s a fine line between speaking up in meetings and bragging.

These beliefs are powerful influences as they cause
cognitive dissonance.

This is an inconsistency between the belief and the outward behavior. It can be an uncomfortable experience and cause you to be unsure or uncertain about how to act or respond.

For example, if you believe that you are not the type of person who speaks up in meetings but you also know that speaking up will help you achieve professional goals, this cognitive dissonance creates an internal conflict that makes it harder to speak up.

And if you believe that speaking up in meetings is similar to bragging, there is a state of cognitive dissonance whenever you do speak up, since in your mind there is a conflict between speaking up and being perceived as a boastful person.

To resolve cognitive dissonance, find congruence. Even if you have fears, you need to bring them into alignment with your goal to have higher-ups notice you. Believe that it is worth it, despite the fears, so you can move forward and make an impression.

Congruence is the mindset piece to this and will set a foundation for speaking up and being noticed by higher-ups at work.

2. Have Something Good to Say

Speak up with something of value to your audience, where the content of what you say is insightful, impactful and even inspirational. You were hired for a reason, so bring your knowledge and expertise to the group!

The content of what you share should include these features:

  • ​Insight: You were hired because of your specific knowledge and skillset, so make sure you are demonstrating that to your higher ups. Whether it is just a quick comment in a meeting or a full presentation, bring meaningful insight to your colleagues and leaders.
  • ​Inspiration: In addition to providing insight, you want to inspire others into action. Even if you give an amazing presentation, it really doesn’t matter too much if no one leaves the meeting and takes action.
  • ​Confidence: This is all about presenting yourself as a leader and someone with knowledge and authority. When you exude confidence, the people listening to you will trust you and want to follow your insight and be inspired to take action.

As you think about speaking up in the next meeting, make sure to focus on the content. Ask yourself if you have insight, inspiration, and confidence. When you do, your higher-ups are sure to take notice and your team will be positively impacted.

3. Introduce Yourself as a Leader

Your team and colleagues already know you, so we’re not talking about just introducing your name and position. Instead, you need to introduce yourself as a leader and expert. You want to position yourself as authoritative and knowledgeable in your domain so that others follow your lead and take positive action.

Introducing yourself correctly can include:

  • Sharing past problems that you have solved for the company.
  • Your knowledge and expertise in a certain area.
  • ​Prior relevant work experience.
  • Ongoing learning and training that you are completing.

All these things will help position you as a leader. It’s not just about the years you worked somewhere, but what you accomplished while you were there. Introduce yourself as a leader who is knowledgeable and ready to take on the next steps and inspire positive action.

You can include an introduction like this at the beginning of a formal presentation. Or you can insert some of this information into casual conversation to remind others about your background and expertise.

When you meet new team members, you can introduce yourself in this way as well, giving them a bigger picture than just your name and position. Finally, another option is to share an example of a past problem you solved and how it relates to the issue at hand.


It can be nerve-wracking to speak up in a team meeting. You may have fears or beliefs about yourself holding you back. But it is not until you speak up and share your insights that your higher-ups can notice you and help move you towards a promotion or other professional goals. Three steps to improve your confidence and speak up are to be congruent, have something good to say, and introduce yourself as a leader.

You can also check out some more tips and tricks on my YouTube channel, which is all about career growth, communication skills, and critical thinking for career and business professionals.

Or connect with me on LinkedIn.

As a gift to my valuable readers like you, I have created a guide that divulges the top speaker’s success secrets on how to get your message across clearly and confidently on any platform.

Click HERE and get your free gift.

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