Speaking Up – How to Make Your Case


Quick Summary
Screenshot Speaking up is a key leadership skill, whether or not you're officially the team leader. This guideline can help you make your case more effectively when you see ways your team could improve the project or work together better.


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What this is

A guideline and checklist to coach you through the act of speaking up. Includes a model to help you make a more effective case, whether you have to speak up at the spur of the moment or at a meeting or appointment you've scheduled just for that purpose. Also includes realistic examples and a one-page checklist to help you remember key success factors when making your case.


Why it's useful

Speaking up is a key leadership skill, whether or not you're officially the team leader. Everyone involved in a team effort should actively look for ways to improve, make recommendations, and generally be responsible to the team for the success of the project—to speak up.

Speaking up when we see a better course of action can be intimidating, but you can learn to do it effectively. Using the model and checklist in this guideline, you can make a good case in as little as five sentences. It may not end the discussion, but at least it will start it.


How to use it

If you're planning ahead to make a case for an issue that's already on your mind:

  • Review the articulation model on page 3 for guidance on how to build your case.
  • Outline the key portions of your argument by following the model.
  • Practice a few times to make sure that your argument sounds reasonable to you...
  • Review the articulation checklist on page 5 and make any needed tweaks.
  • Take your notes with you to your meeting and refer to them as needed.

If you're trying to improve your communication skills overall, and/or build confidence when speaking up in meetings without advance preparation:

  • Review the perceived obstacles on page 2 and think about which ones apply to you. What other reasons have you used to avoid speaking up in the past?

(Continued in the downloadable guideline.)


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