Speak Up by Diane PerkinsI’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.