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Following Your Instincts to Share Ideas in the Workplace

When is the best time to speak up to your boss? Should you wait until the “right moment,” or is it better to blurt out ideas when they come to you? Obviously, there’s a fine line between respectfully deferring to the boss while also sharing your innovative ideas and advancing your career. Following your instincts is one of the best ways to determine what, when, and how to share your ideas in the workplace.

What to Share

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Don’t share every idea that comes to your mind, or your voice is likely not to be heard over time. On the other hand, if you’re a more introverted person, it’s important to make sure your voice is heard when it really matters. Ask yourself if what you have come up with is a truly fresh, innovative idea: If the answer is yes, the next step is to think about presenting it to the higher-ups at your workplace in the most practical terms possible.

The key to making your idea heard is offering not only a critique, but a plan for how your solution can be practically implemented. Management is much more likely to take you and your idea seriously when you have a concrete plan that doesn’t require too much time or money, yet is likely to yield positive results.

When to Share

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It makes sense not to share new ideas when your boss is distracted or during peak times of business when you are supposed to be totally focused on customers or work. The same way you would gauge when to say something important to family members, it’s necessary to wait for the right time to speak up at work; talking to a boss when she isn’t in a great mood can produce negative results. Observe your boss carefully, looking for body language and other mood indicators. Follow your instincts about when it’s a good time, and then go ahead and speak your mind.

How to Share

Get straight to the point and capture the attention of your listener. If you start out by saying, “umm-” and keep moving off track, your boss may have little interest in hearing your idea by the time you finally get to it.

The more you attune yourself to the dynamics of the business, people, and communication styles of your workplace, the more you will instinctively know the best ways to get your ideas across. Remember that in order to push your career forward, it will be necessary to share suggestions with your bosses along the way. As long as you follow workplace etiquette and engage respectfully, you should never be afraid to make your voice heard.