Lunch and Learn with Lindsay – Issue 39: Mastering the art of putting forward your opinion

In today’s #LunchNLearnWithLindsay I’m sharing some guidelines on putting forward your opinion.

These simple, yet effective guidelines provide grounded, practical advice at a time when many of us find our emotions are running high with the impact and challenges of the ongoing pandemic situation. 

Mastering the art of putting putting forward your opinion

When you feel strongly about something, it can be easy to let your emotions get the better of you.  By doing so, you can lose or dilute the impact of sharing your opinion.

There is an art to putting forward and sharing your opinion in a way that “lands” with the best impact.

Notice I’ve used the word “share” here.  This is about sharing your opinion not enforcing your opinion on someone else. This is about respecting the fact that not everyone will have the same opinion as you. We are all unique and have our own perspectives and viewpoints on life.  I always say, it’s what makes the world such an exciting place to be (and also, such a challenging place to be!).

The following guidelines will help you master the art of putting forward your opinion.

⭐1. Breathe!
When you feel strongly about something this may show in your fast-paced breathing, body language and pace of talking. You need to get the balance right here between sharing your opinion with “passion” without appearing flustered, harassed or “bulldozing” ahead. Focus on maintaining even, steady breathing.  There is a huge benefit to “counting to 10” when emotions are running high!

⭐2. Ground yourself and be assertive
Plant your feet firmly on the ground.  Ensure your body language is assertive – so match the level of someone else (if they are standing, you stand, if they are sitting, you sit). Open the palms of your hands and maintain steady, gentle eye contact with the person you are talking to. Your tone of voice needs to be assertive too with an even-paced, steady rhythm that uses the inflection of your voice and emphasises the important words or phrases. 

⭐3. Favour curiosity over judgment
Human nature is such that we tend to “pre judge” others based on our own experiences and beliefs.  Put aside any prejudgments you make and instead be curious. Curiosity is the foundation to all learning and opens our mind to ensure we are more receptive and aware in any situation. Being curious will foster a learning mindset.

⭐4. Acknowledge someone else’s opinion

Not everyone will have the same opinion as you. We are all unique human beings with individual experiences, beliefs, upbringing, knowledge and learning. Acknowledge that someone else may have a different opinion to you.  Say  “I understand you have/may have a different opinion here and I’m sure, like me, you appreciate that we’re all different.”

⭐5. Seal it with a KISS! (Keep It Short & Simple)

Cut through any jargon by using simple language that can be instantly understood. You can learn more on KISS here.

⭐6. Explain your reasons for having the opinion that you do

Say, “This is my opinion because in my experience X has happened…” or “I’m basing my opinion on X…” 

⭐7. Tailor your language to suit the person you are delivering your message to
Ensure you tailor your language to take into account the listener’s sensory preference.  You can read more on how to do this here.

⭐8. Be open and willing to hear someone else’s opinion
Someone else has given you their time to listen to your opinion. Reciprocate by giving them your time to listen to their opinion. Be open and willing to hear their opinion and remember “there is something to be learned from everyone you meet”. 


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