This is something I have been telling myself and have learnt recently.
I think more than knowing when you should speak up and how you should articulate, whats important is to understand when you should NOT say anything. When you should just be a listener, observer.
There are plenty of instances where I thought, I had something I could share. A piece of advice, some feedback, my personal opinion / comment etc. But I stayed quiet and that was much better for all the parties involved.
- When you are trying to build a relationship with and the other person ( your boss / colleague / a potential friend client ) is basking in his own glory. Let him enjoy. Don’t bring him down. (Feel free to share a positive comment, but keep your negative feedback / comments inside you)
- The other person is un-necessarily blaming someone to feel good about himself . Stay quiet. Providing feedback is important but with the right timing.
- When you think an idea is very sub-optimal but the other department / team (which you do not directly control) is going ahead with it. You know there is a big political scene out there and a sub-optimal decision has been taken. Try sharing your feedback with individuals if you really need to but don’t speak up publicly. Stay out of politics un-less you are the boss.
- When you think someone is insulting you in front of a lot of people. Its not necessary for you to retaliate then and there. Stay cool. In the worst case,walk out of the conversation grace fully if you need to, but not retaliating with a bullet in front a big group would definitely help.
These are only a few examples, but in general – I have realized that staying quiet is more important a skill than many other rock star competencies one may have.