The Top 20 Ways to Say What You Really Think

The false peace of not saying what you really think eventually sucks the life out of you.

Speak up because you’ll complain less if things don’t go your way.


you don't know as much as you believe and others aren't as dumb as you think ... usually

20 ways to say what your really think:

  1. Determine what you want. You know what you DON’T want. What DO you want?
  2. Chill out. Breathe deep. Speak slowly. Sit down.
  3. Bring an open spirit. Be a learner, not a knower.
  4. “I could be wrong,” is better than, “You’re wrong.”
  5. Don’t follow, “I could be wrong,” with, “BUT.” Instead try, “I could be wrong. I WONDER about …?”
  6. Ask questions before making statements. You don’t know as much as you believe, and others aren’t as dumb as they seem … usually.
  7. Explore purpose. “What’s important to you about this?”
  8. Think like a leader.
    • What’s the possible blowback?
    • How will your ideas impact other people or teams? (That’s how leaders think.)
  9. Listen because it serves others, not because it’s fun.
  10. Learn from those who speak up and survive. What do they do?
  11. Don’t say, “You.” Focus on issues, not people. Make it safe for others to lower their barriers. Conversations get personal when you attack.
  12. Plan simple responses to possible objections. Spontaneity is a dangerous strategy when you’re under stress.
  13. Build relationships before you need them. A strong relationship includes the right to disagree.
  14. Strengthen relationships during disagreement.
    • Show respect.
    • Listen well.
    • Repeat what you’re hearing.
    • Say, “Thank you.”
  15. Decide if it matters or you’re responding to personal baggage. Sometimes the things that bother you are about you, not others.
  16. Care for people because it’s who you are, not because they deserve it.
  17. Celebrate success frequently. Disagree rarely. Be known for gratitude, not complaining.
  18. Speak up with kindness.
  19. Remember that complainers often want something for themselves.
  20. Speak from your heart.

Which of these ideas seems most useful?

What would you add to the above list?