In the first 2 steps of our series, “The 3 ‘Ups’ of Making an Impact”, we explored Show Up and Listen Up; the importance of being physically and emotionally present in conversation and investing energy into listening and empathizing. Now, the final step to make a lasting impact.
Step 3- Speak Up
Let me begin by repeating part of step 2: listen intently for meaning and understanding, NOT to formulate a response. Otherwise, ‘making an impact’ gets derailed into rebuttal and defense.
Speaking up is more art than science. First, guaging the conversation while involved in the conversation requires energy. It’s difficult to be empathetic and try to see the world through the eyes of someone else. Second, carefully measuring words as to not sound demanding or condescending requires a rich vocabulary. Finally, it’s all about timing. If your thoughts are requested, that’s simple. Otherwise, there are ways to open a response. For instance, you can restate what you heard. (This is as much for meaning and clarification as it is for understanding.) You can also simply ask if they would like your thoughts, or if you have been in a similar situation, experience.
No judgments. No degredation. Affirm their humanity, empathize with their situation, and offer support.
Making an impact takes time and effort. But I promise you, it’s time and effort well invested.