• open panel

8.5 Ways to Speak Up and Add More Value to Your Organization


Coins balancing

by Kelly Vandever

Want to keep your job?  Want to get a better job?  Find ways to add value at work!

One of the reasons people come to this site it to improve their public speaking they can get better at speaking up at work.  One way to show your value at work is to be able to present important information in a professional manner.  But there’s more ways that are important to speak up at work.  Consider these.

  1. Tell your manager what change you want to make – Talk to you boss and let him or her know you want to speak up more. Use Kelly as an excuse!  “Hey boss, I was reading this blog by a communications expert named Kelly and she wrote something that really made sense to me – I’d like to make this change and I’d like to start speaking up more.”  Ask your manager for his or her support as you try to add more value to the organization.  (How can your boss say no to that?!)
  • 1.5 This works for leaders too – If you’re a leader, tell your staff, “I went this blog post and I want to get better at listening to your input rather than just giving instructions without getting your input.” David Marquet’s (whom I interviewed during my leadership podcast) shared how he gave yellow cards (like the penalty card used in soccer) to his staff and ask them to support him by throwing up the yellow card whenever he did something he said he wanted to stop doing.
  1. Own Your Own Career – Do the research – Use your organization’s online people finder and enterprise social tool along with LinkedIn to seek out people who are doing what you’re interested in.  Find out how they did to get where they are.  Touch base with them occasionally.  Own finding out what you can do to reach your personal professional goals.
  1. Schedule Your Own Meeting with Your Manager – I once had a boss who didn’t feel the need to meet with her staff regularly one-on-one. But I needed it.  So I scheduled a meeting with her every month.  I put together an agenda for the meeting.  I went through my business goals, documenting my progress.  I told her any projects I was working on or professional development activities I’d been involved with.  Basically I made sure she knew what I was doing and how well I was doing it.  And bonus:  by the end of the year, my performance appraisal wrote itself!
  1. Build Relationships and Keep in Touch Occasionally (And Not Just When You Need Something or Are Looking for a Job) – Keep up with past employers and employees, friends from school, colleagues.  (Another good reason to connect via social media!)
  1. Get Involved in Professional Groups Inside/Outside of Work – Join affinity groups within your organization. Join Toastmasters.  Look for professional associations in your field.  (For IT people in the Atlanta area, I recommend getting involved with one of the societies within the Technology Association of Georgia and/or the Atlanta chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals. (If you have another IT related professional association of note, please email Kelly at Kelly.Vandever @ SpeakingPractically.com.)  And don’t stop at just becoming a member.    Volunteering helps build deeper connections and you’ll get more value and when you contribute, others will be more willing to help you too.
  1. Help Your Boss Look Good – Help him/her solve problems. Help keep them from making a mistake.  Make suggestions on how things could be better.  It’s not brown-nosing, it’s the right and smart thing to do.  If we help our boss be more successful, they’ll help us along the way too.
  1. Don’t Assume Someone Else Will Do It, Do It. Add Value. – When you look at your job description and see the word, “Other duties as assigned,” don’t think of it as a catch all to dump on you.  Think of it as permission to do what needs to be done.  I know this guy at one of my clients named Jason.  He came across a problem that was diffused among several different groups that no one person really owned.  He could have said, “It’s not my job.”  But he didn’t.  He took it on and now everyone loves him. His boss. His client. It resulted in getting more revenue for his company and helped the client solve important problems they were having.  Just think of the value he’s adding!  All because he was willing to step up, even when it wasn’t his job.
  1. Help Others – People over the years have thought “knowledge is power” and hoarded information thinking that made them valuable. But good leaders don’t see it that way.  What’s way more valuable is for you to share what you know to help others grow.  Help team members.  Answer questions on your enterprise social tool.  Share things you’ve learned.  Ed Brill from IBM shared with me on my podcast the story of a finance guy within IBM from Bratislava who on Wednesday afternoons, puts on a lab coat and becomes Dr. Connections.  (Connections is IBM’s social enterprise platform.)   He’s not paid to do that.  It’s not part of his KPIs.  But he just loves the tool so much that wants other people to see all it can do!  He posts video tutorials which IBM then shares on their intranet.

There’s no end to the ways you can add value to your organization.  In fact, I’d love to hear what you do!  Email me at Kelly. Vandever@ SpeakingPractically.com and we’ll add it to our list!

Kelly Vandever is a leadership and communications expert who helps leaders and organizations thrive in today’s attention-deficit, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-Facebook world.   Learn how opening up, listening intently, and speaking practically can bring you better business results. 

Contact her by phone at 770-597-1108, email her at kelly.Vandever@SpeakingPractically.com or tweet her @KellyVandever.