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Forget being that quiet mouse in the corner or wallflower. This is the time to learn how to communicate, share and give a voice to those thoughts. Because it’s time for Speak Up and Succeed Day!

History of Speak Up and Succeed Day

The idea of speaking up can be interpreted a couple of different ways in English, whether it means raising a voice to speak more loudly, or it can also mean to be willing to express a person’s opinion in a frank and honest way. It’s also possible to speak up on behalf of another person, which usually means vouching for their character in a positive manner.

Throughout human history, various cultures have sometimes embraced and sometimes rejected the idea of speaking up. The days when employees will simply blindly follow their leaders without speaking up are coming to an end. And that’s a good thing! In this new era of giving everyone a voice, the idea of creating a speak up culture in companies and workplaces continues to grow and develop. Employers and businesses are working harder than ever to create spaces that make it safe and effective for their people to speak up.

In the midst of this, it is important that people learn how to employ and develop their public speaking skills so that what they have to say can really be heard!

Now, Speak up and Succeed Day is here to encourage those who have something to say to go ahead and say it in a meaningful and respectable manner. Speak Up and Succeed Day was founded by well-known speaker and author, Mary-Ellen Drummond.

Drummond is the founder of an organization called Polished Presentations International and she has authored several books, including A Woman’s Way to Incredible Success, as well as Fearless and Flawless Public Speaking with Power, Polish and Pizazz.

Speak Up and Succeed Day Timeline

500 BC

Study of public speaking begins 

In Ancient Athens, as part of the civic duties, men were required to speak at the legislative assemblies and in the court.[1]

1848

Women in America speak up

Abolitionists Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton lead women in speaking up for their right to vote. [2]

1963

I Have a Dream speech is given

Martin Luther King gives one of the most famous speeches in America at the March on Washington DC. [3]

1990

Polished Presentations is started

Mary-Ellen Drummond founds her international organization focusing on organizational, inspirational and motivational speaking.

2017

Speak Up documentary is released

This documentary addresses the intersection of race with discrimination, art and being black. [4]

How to Celebrate Speak Up and Succeed Day

Get ready to celebrate because Speak Up and Succeed Day is here! This day offers all sorts of different ideas for observing and honoring the day with activities and action, such as these:

Speak Up!

Those who are in an organization or workplace who have either witnessed a negative behavior or simply feel like their contributions and voice don’t matter should take some time to evaluate whether it is time to speak up. Craft a well-thought-out presentation or speech, then make an appointment with a boss or coworker who needs to hear what you have to say. After all, it’s Speak Up and Succeed Day!

Practice Your Public Speaking

Feel a little bit intimidated by the idea of standing up in front of a crowd and speaking? That’s okay! A lot of people struggle with this. But the best way to get over that fear is to practice and then just do it. Take every opportunity to speak in front of a group of people and it will get easier as time passes.

Those who want to get more formal training might choose to take a public speaking class at a local community college, or participate in an organization like Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a worldwide organization that encourages communication and leadership skills, providing tons of opportunities for public speaking.

Read Some Books on Speaking Up

Speaking up and speaking out are critical parts of society today, but it’s not a skill that most people are born with. It’s something that needs practice and learning. Use Speak Up and Succeed Day as an inspiration to read and learn more about how to practice and improve these skills for use in life.

Try reading some of these books about speaking up in honor of the day:

  • Speak Up! & Succeed: How to get everything you want in meetings, presentations and conversations by Nance Rosen (2019). Combine public speaking and networking tools with communication and leadership to make success even more attainable in the workplace and in the world.
  • Speak Up: Say what needs to be said and hear what needs to be heard by Megan Reitz and John Higgins (2020). Understand the subtle elements that hold people back from speaking up while learning how to contribute valuable ideas and observations.
  • It’s the Way You Say It by Carol A. Fleming (2013). Learn how to figure out what you sound like when you speak so that you can alter what you say so that others can hear what you really mean!
  • Speaking Up in a Culture of Silence: Changing the Organization Activity from Bullying and Incivility to One of Listening and Productivity by David Naylor (2022). Learn why and how to say something when it is needed.

Listen to Professional Public Speakers

One super way to spend Speak Up and Succeed Day would be to listen to some other professionals who are excellent in their craft. For instance, Mary-Ellen Drummond, who started Speak Up and Succeed Day, would be a great resource for listening and learning how to practice the craft of public speaking. Some of her speeches can be found online through YouTube or other channels. So have a listen and enjoy learning from the one who started it all!

Prepare for Success

Those who are honing their skills in public speaking and making their voices known may just want to watch out because they may very well just be on the road toward success! Speak Up and Succeed Day is all about using your brain and building your skills toward succeeding in all you do.

And since the top can be a very lonely place to be, why not go ahead and encourage someone else who is a little behind you on the journey. Act as a mentor to someone else who needs to improve their skills in celebration of Speak Up and Succeed Day!

Speak Up and Succeed Day FAQs

What does it mean to speak up for someone?

Speaking up for someone means to support them, especially by saying good things about them. [1]

Why should I speak up?

Speaking up is at the root of social change, communicating publicly, assertively and honestly.[2]

Why is speak-up culture important?

A “speak-up” culture in the workplace helps to promote honesty and reduce risk. [3]

Why are employees afraid to speak up?

Employees may be afraid to speak up when they see something wrong out of fear that it will backfire, cause embarrassment or have negative consequences.[4]

How do I speak up?

Speaking up often involves preparing in advance, knowing your rights & resources, being the best version of yourself and learning the gut feeling of when you need to speak up.[5]

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