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HOW TO

SPEAK

UP FOR YOURSELF Adam Galinsky, Ted Talk

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SPEAK UP SPEAKING UP IS HARD TO DO I understood the true meaning of this phrase exactly one month ago, when my wife and I became new parents. This was so exhilarating / elating, but was also scary and terrifying, it got particularly terrifying when we got home from hospital ,and we weren’t sure our new baby boy was getting enough nutrients. We wanted to call our paediatrician, but we also didn’t want to make a bad first impression or come across as crazy, neurotic parents. So we worried. And we waited. When we got to the doctor’s office the next day, she gave him formula because he was pretty dehydrated. Our son is fine now. However, in that moment, I should have spoken up.

SHOULD WE SPEAK UP Sometimes we speak when we shouldn’t. My brother is a documentary filmmaker, and for his first films, he got an offer from a distribution company. He was excited, and wanted to take the offer. Becuase I’m negotiation researcher, I insisted he make a counteroffer, The company was offended, so much that they withdrew their offer and therefore my brother was left with nothing.


I’ve asked people all over the world about this dilemma of speaking up: when they can assert themselves, when they can push their interests, when they anopinion, when they can make ambitious ask. The range of stories is varied and diverse, but they also make up a universal tapestry. Can I correct my boss when they make a huge mistake? Can I confront co-worker’s that won’t stop stepping on my toes? Can I challenge my friend’s insensitive joke? Can I tell the one I love most my deepest of insecurities? Through these experiences, I’ve come to recognize that each of us have something called our range of acceptable behaviour. Now, sometimes we are far too strong; we push ourselves too much. But sometimes we’re too weak. This range of acceptable behaviours help when we stay within our range, we’re rewarded. When we step out of that range, we get punished. We can get dismissed or demeaned and ostracized. Or we lose that raise, promotion or deal.

COMMON IDEAS

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do it right RANGE AND POWER The key thing is, our range isn’t fixed; it’s actually pretty dynamic. It expands and it narrows based on the context. There’s one thing that determines that range more than anything else, and that’s your power. Your power determines your range. What is power? Power comes in lots of forms. In negotiations, it comes in the form of alternatives. Sometimes it’s being new to a country, like an immigrant, or new to an organization or new to an experience, like my wife and I as new parents. Sometimes it’s at work, where someone’s the boss and someone’s the subordinate. Sometimes it’s in relationships, where one person’s more invested than the other person.

THE DOUBLE BIND When we have lots of power, our range is very wide. We can have a lot more leeway in how to behave. However, when we lack power, our range narrows. We have very little leeway. The problem is that when our range narrows, which produces something, called the low-power double bind. The low power double bind happens when, if we don’t speak up, we go unnoticed, but if we do speak up, we get punished.

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fundimentals TWO THINGS MATTER When I feel powerful, I feel confident, not fearful; so I expand my range. When other people see me as powerful, they grant me a wider range. We need tools to expand our range of acceptable behaviour. And I’m going to give you a set of tools today. Speaking up is risky. I will lower the risk..

THE MAMA BEAR EFFECT When someone advocates for others, they discover their own range and expand their own mind. They become more assertive. This is called “the mama bear effect.” Like a mama bear defending cubs, when we support others, we can discover our voice.

PERSPECTIVE TALKING Sometimes, we have to support ourselves. One important tool we have to advocate for ourselves is called perspective-taking. Perspective-taking is really simple: it’s simply looking at the world through the eyes of another person. It’s one of the most important tools we have to expand our range. When I take your perspective, and I think about what you really want, you’re more likely to give me what I want.

BEING ACCEPTED Here’s another way to be assertive but still be likable, and it’s called ‘signal flexibility.’ Research shows that when you give people a choice among options, it lowers defenses, and they’re more likely to accept your offer. So we want to get allies on our side. How do we do that? Well, one of the ways is be mama bear. When we support others we expand range in our owneyes andthe eyes of others, but we also earn strong allies.

POWER IN YOUR EYES AND IN THE EYES OF OTHERS

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communication GAINING ALLIES

TAPPING INTO PASSION One of the ways we can come across as an expert is by tapping into our passion. If you ask friend of yours to describe a passion of thiers, the reaction’s are always the same. “ “Their eyes lit up and got big.” “They smiled a big beaming smile.” “They used their hands” “They talk quickly with a little higher pitch.” “They leaned in as if telling me a secret.” When we tap into our passion, we give ourselves the courage, in our own eyes, to speak up, but we also get the permission from others to speak up.

A way we can earn strong allies, especially in high places, is by asking other people for advice. When we ask others for advice, they like us because we flatter them, and we’re expressing humility. Its best not to advertise your accomplishments, no one notices. And if we do, we’re not too likable. If we ask for advice about one of our many accomplishments, we competent in their eyes but also be liked. This is so powerful it even works when you see it coming. Now, another time we feel more confident speaking up is when we have expertise. Expertise makes us credibile. When we get high power, we already credibility. We only need good evidence. When we lack power, we are not credibile. We need evidence.

TO END I want to end with a few words my late father spoke at my brother’s wedding. “The lighter your touch, the better you become - improving and enriching yourperformance. Those who embrace their roles, improve their performance, grow, change and expand the self. Play well, and your days will be joyful.” What my father was saying is that we’ve all been assigned ranges and roles in this world. However, he was also saying that the essence of this talk: those roles and ranges are constantly expanding and evolving. So when a scene calls for it, be a ferocious mama bear and a humble advice seeker. Have excellent evidence, strong allies. and be a passionate perspective taker. If you use those tools, you will expand your range of acceptable behaviour, and your days will be mostly joyful.

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