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Assertive Communication Tips: How Can You Help a Team Member Who Does Not Speak Up?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Not everyone wants to be in the spotlight and it can be uncomfortable for some to speak up when they are not leading a discussion. Internal negative thoughts begin to impede the sharing of ideas. What if they don't like my idea? What if it's already been said? What if I'm wrong? Instead of contributing a potential solution, they don't say anything at all. Assertive communication comes easier to some, and you may be able someone who struggles in this area.

by Stephanie Bickel

Think about the members of your team that aren't heard enough. Try taking these steps to help them be more comfortable speaking up.

1. Encourage an open and inclusive culture

Create an environment where team members feel comfortable speaking up and sharing their ideas. This might involve actively seeking out input from all team members and promoting open communication.

2. Offer support and encouragement

Encourage the team member to speak up by offering support and encouragement. This could involve privately offering positive feedback or simply letting them know that their ideas are valued.

3. Set aside dedicated time for discussion

Set aside dedicated time for team members to share their ideas and thoughts. This could be during team meetings or through regular check-ins with the team member.

4. Encourage participation

Encourage the team member to participate by asking them specific questions or requesting their input on certain topics.

5. Foster a safe and respectful environment

Ensure that team members feel safe and respected when speaking up. This might involve addressing any instances of bullying or disrespect and promoting a culture of inclusivity.

6. Offer feedback and coaching

Provide feedback and coaching to the team member to help them develop their communication skills and feel more confident speaking up.

7. Explore the reasons behind their reluctance

It may be helpful to have a one-on-one conversation with the team member to understand the reasons behind their reluctance to speak up. This could involve addressing any underlying concerns or insecurities they may have.

8. Consider involving a mediator

If the team member is still struggling to speak up, consider involving a mediator, such as a coach or therapist, to help facilitate communication.

9. Encourage the team member to seek out new opportunities

Encourage the team member to seek out new opportunities to speak up, such as leading a team meeting or presenting to a larger group. This can help build their confidence and encourage them to speak up more regularly.

10. Celebrate successes

Recognize and celebrate the team member's successes when they do speak up, which can help build their confidence and encourage them to continue participating in team discussions.


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