Best Way to Get Your Voice Heard

Someone is ragging on you and you want her to cut it out—NOW! There’s a cause that you feel totally passionate about, and you want to stand up for it. You’ve got an idea for a new way of doing something. That’s right—you’ve got something to say! So what’s holding you back from speaking out? Nancy Gruver, founder and publisher of New Moon magazine, which publishes what girls have to say, says this:

One of the common fears girls have is using their voices. There’s the fear of being embarrassed. There’s the worry that people will disagree with you. That they’ll dismiss what you’re saying as not important. That they’ll laugh at you. And you know what? Those things will happen sometimes. But it doesn’t mean you should stop speaking. It also doesn’t mean the views of those people are right!

Voice Heard Best Way to Get Your Voice Heard

If you’ve got something to say, don’t hold it in. Speak out. Make your voice heard. Things never change if we all stay quiet. Girls and women make up more than 50 percent of this world. We have a real responsibility to share our feel­ings and our reality. And girls have a lot of good ideas and important things to say—if only they would say them. If thoughts stay only in our heads, we can’t make the world better. The world is missing out on our creativity, our good ideas, our energy.

It’s an incredible gift that girls bring to the world when they are willing to speak out. And when you speak out, you feel stronger. You know what? You actually are stronger.

Nancyalso has some ways you can feel more confident about mak­ing your voice heard.

Write down what you think you want to say. Put your words on paper before you have to speak them. Nothing long (it’s not a school paper!), but just your thoughts on the. Read over what you have written. Ask yourself if it explains what you want it to explain. Think about what’s most important for you to express and then write from the heart.

Ask someone to read what you’ve written. Choose some­one whose opinion you trust, such as a teacher, a caring friend, or a parent. Ask for that person’s thoughts. Sharing what you write helps you get really clear on what you want to say. It can prepare you to hear what other people’s reactions might be. And then you can make any changes you want.

Determine who you want to hear it. Who will your audience be? Is it something you want to say to your teacher? To someone who is bothering you? To your classmates? To your community in a letter to the editor of your local paper?

What do you want to have happen? What result do you want after you speak out? The results can range from very personal to worldwide. Do you want someone to stop doing something to you? Do you want it published on a Web site? Do you want other people to change their opinions?

Figure out the best way to make your voice heard.

Thinking about your audience and the results, what would be the best way to get your message across? Would it be to tell some one to her face? To write an article for your school newspaper A let­ter? An e-mail?

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