Some people are highly opinionated while some is strongly against speaking their minds in a public setting. Those are two polar opposites while some of us lands in the middle where we open and restrict ourselves depending on the situation.
I remember writing a speech for my Toastmaster club a while ago that talked about the importance of standing up and speaking up whether for yourself or for others. Now that I think back on the topic and all the recent controversial gossips and news that has to do with some claim made by some high powered celebrity and politicians, I am beginning to think that there is a down side to speaking up and standing up for yourself.
Of course, there is! Everything, from our future to our career to our education, everything is based on what we do in the present. Whatever happens next, whether good of bad, is based upon the consequences that is our action.
I remember when I was writing the speech, I had just watched a segment of NBC Dateline a while before. In the segment, an actor or actress was placed in a classroom full of kids taking tests. Here is what they are supposed to do: cheat.
They are supposed to cheat, look around at other people’s paper, ask for answers, whatever. The parents of the students are watching behind the camera by the way. The purpose of this little test was to see who will say something. To be frank, if I was in this situation, I don’t think I would do anything just because of peer pressure and I have a terror of telling someone what they can and cannot do.
Apparently, I am not the only one. Out of the 10 scenarios, only about 3 students spoke up. The others either quietly did their work or even joined the cheater. I thought it was courageous what those three students did, speaking up like that. They spoke up because it was the right thing to do and they are not afraid of being judged.
Now that I think about it, the place and time to speak your mind is dependent on the situation. You should know when to speak up and when to hold back. I guess sometimes being shy and having one of those people won’t take you serious faces has its perks but again, dependent on the situation. Anyway, in my speech, I wrote down the three things I learned about the importance of speaking up.
- It is important to speak your mind when others are pressuring you into a decision. Speaking your mind will often guide you through the decision making process without being dragged down by peer pressure.
- Speaking and standing up for yourself in a group can be rewarding and preventive in some ways. Like when I was taking my project management class, the guys were making all the money decisions while my opinion did not matter. I bud into the middle of the circle and said “We are spending too much on the project.” That actually prevented a bad grade and possibly the team going bankrupt.
- Speaking your mind in public will make you seem more confident to people. Though, it is always true for everyone, I find this work rather well in job interview. Some employers actually want to know whether you can form your own opinions.