A job interview, an impromptu speech at a friend’s wedding or disagreeing with someone; social situations for most people, can wreak havoc with their confidence, slashing them in half. That’s primarily because most of us do not have a very clear value-system and even if we do, we seldom stand up to it when the time comes.

Humans by nature tend to be conformists; they tend to go with the tide rather than struggle upstream. This behaviour mainly stems from our desire to please others. It takes courage and confidence to stand up and make your voice heard. It’s not until people are pushed to the wall that they usually raise their voice.

For most people, voicing an opinion takes the shape of a reactive rant rather than an argument built on substance. The key is to understand that standing up for your values does not mean reactive, unpredictable outbursts; it entails the use of tact, empathy and facts.

Some of us take our time to come out of our shells when it comes to voicing our thoughts, especially around new people. I find the best way forward is to be upfront and not be coy about your beliefs. If your opinion ruffles a few feathers, so be it; it is NOT your problem and it is absolutely your right to have an opinion.

The most confrontational people tend to be the ones who feel threatened; they usually find it hard to grapple with differing viewpoints. All they need is a bit more space and empathy and you will find it much easier to convey your point of view.

Stay true to yourself, your values and your beliefs. Understand that if you are truly driven by what you believe in, it will shine through and sure enough you will develop the poise, courage and tact needed to shape others’ opinions.

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