How to Speak Up to the Boss and Be Heard

Speaking up to the boss is risky, especially if you don’t have a trusting relationship. If you’re not sure if you have the boss’ trust and respect, you’re going to need to work on this first. That’s where executive coaches can help.

But even if you’re sure you’ve got his or her respect, you still don’t want to catch the boss on an off day. You can do a lot to pave the way to being heard by choosing your words well.

I’ve been compiling a list of ‘prefacing’ words that I sometimes use when I suspect I don’t have full confidence yet. Hope these help. Be sure to add your favorite phrases by leaving them in the comments section…

  • I want to run something by you, and tell me what you think, both pro and con…
  • I could be wrong, but think about this possibility…
  • Hypothetically, what if…
  • I see your point, that helps me understand. I still think there’s something else that needs to be explored…
  • With your permission, I’d like to do some research and get some other data/numbers (or other people’s opinions) about this…
  • On the pro side, I see this…(blah blah). On the other hand, there are some cons. Hear me out…
  • I’m curious… let me ask more about this.
  • I’m wondering about this… and a little concerned. Can we discuss this?
  • I’d like to do some investigating on this further. I’m not yet convinced…
  • There’s something about this that still bothers me … would you allow me to do some research/ draw up some counter arguments?
  • How open to discussion are you on this?
  • Are you already decided, or can we talk about the issues?

What other ways can you try to get the boss to consider your ideas that run counter to theirs? Feel free to leave your comments…

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