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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Speak Up by Diane Perkins

I’m a great advocate of speaking up, mostly because it sometimes works. (See my comment to Merrillee's blog of Sept 14.) Some of you are probably thinking, “Well, DUH!!!” but for a shy person like me, it is a revelation that one can actually speak one’s mind and make a difference.

I’ve fought my shyness all my life, always having to force myself to speak up. I did learn to raise my hand in school, to speak my mind at work. It is ironic that my first career was basically talking--I was a mental health social worker, making my money by talking.

I wanted to become a published romance author so much, I learned to speak up in RWA chapter meetings, to talk to editors and agents, to introduce myself to people I don’t know (Shudder). If you are shy, you know what I mean.

If you met me, you would have no idea about this shyness--unless it was at a party where I didn’t know anyone at all. I still can’t handle that situation with any level of comfort.

Let me tell you, though, of my hugest revelation to the advantages of speaking up.

You know the music they play in restaurants? The kind that is so loud you can’t hear the person across the table from you? I discovered one day that if you ASK, the music will be turned down.

(the picture above is an engraving of the Dining Room at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England.)

The first time I dared to ask a waitress, “Do you think the music could be turned down just a bit?” the music was actually turned down. I could have a pleasant conversation with my meal. This was exciting indeed. I decided to try it again the next time there was loud music in a restaurant. The music was turned down again! I tell you, it has been years now and almost always when I ask, the music is turned down!

I am certain this amazing skill of mine--speaking up--has served more important purposes. I know I used to speak up for my clients all the time, but every time I ask for the music to be turned down in a restaurant and they do it, I feel tickled!

Here I am with my friends Patty and Julie, Dining last year at the Royal Opera House in London. That evening the music was perfect!

I'd love to hear your successful (or unsuccessful) “Speaking Up” stories.

Bon Appétit!


At 11:06 AM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

I routinely ask for music to be turned down at restaurants, and it's true, they almost always oblige.

Speaking up, speaking up... I can't think of any particular stories. I speak up so much, it's just as likely to get me in trouble. Sounds like you've achieved a happy medium. :)

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Jennifer Smith/Ila Campbell said...

I, too, speak up at restaurants, but I do it even more often at coffee shops where I'm trying to write. Sometimes, I even dare to ask them to change the disc they are playing, as something might be particularly distracting.

Since I live in Korea, I also sometimes have to speak up to inform store/restaurant/coffee shop owners when they are playing a song that customers who understand English are going to be offended by the words (happens more often than not with rap, it seems), then leave it up to them if they want to leave it on.

Other than music? Hmmm. Airplanes. I let the flight staff know if the cleaning staff did a crappy job or if they didn't stock things correctly (like tissues in the bathroom, etc.). I'm stuck on that plane 14 or more hours, usually!

I guess in general I also speak up about something on behalf of someone who is shy about speaking out. My mom was one of those people, so I've been doing it most of my life!

Jennifer -- the pushy one, apparently

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Mallory M Pickerloy said...

I find it is best to speak up and not have folk run all over one. But I've had many complaints when I speak up, people often take me wrong and think I was starting trouble, when I wasn't. For instance, sometimes I can't speak up on everything, especially on the internet, you know why? It's hard to show someone what you mean without them getting offended or knowing who you are, for I have family in the public eye, and sadly when I go on some blogs, I see that people are posting about this said family, cruel things and rumours, and it makes me feel out of place, for it's my family , I love them..and people can have their personal thoughts yes, but leave it as that, something personal, not publishing it over the internet and having gangs of people get even ruder...I dont know of many who have this trouble on speaking up in this sort of situation?

Being also I've done history and archaeology, when I put in experence from those feilds on history forums, no one believes me and looks over my post or gets I've admit to bad experence with speaking up...
(Mallory who's glad she wasn't Marie Antoinette-getting riots)

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Kiki, I cannot imagine you not speaking up!
Jennifer, I love that you explain Rap to the Korean shopworkers. So funny.

Mallory, gee, I'm sorry your "speaking up" experiences have been negative ones. But I totally agree with you about speaking up on the internet. Even if you are reasonable about what you say, other people seem to feel they can say whatever hurtful things they want on the internet. Things get blown out of proportion, too. I learned that on one of my writing loops. I said something in jest and it got lots of flak. I can't tell you how many times I've fired off a reply to something that disturbed me, only to delete it, figuring it wasn't worth a flurry of messages back to me.


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