How to Speak up for Yourself

A few simple techniques can help you get what you need, both at the office and in your personal life.

Print this page

Adam Galinsky delivered this presentation at TEDxNewYork in September 2016. For more information, view the video on


Speaking up can be one of the most challenging parts of both our personal and professional lives — push too hard, and you risk alienating others; don’t push hard enough, and you risk being trampled over.

But it doesn’t have to be so hard. You just have to learn how to expand your range of acceptable behavior. At the heart of the problem, Adam Galinsky, chair of the Management Division at Columbia Business School, explains on, are the power dynamics that infuse our relationships.

For those with less power — including not only those lower on the corporate ladder, but also historically disadvantaged groups, like women and minorities — being heard without being perceived as overbearing can be particularly challenging.

Galinsky offers seven simple tools derived from his and others’ research to overcome this low-power double bind, showing the ways you can increase your range of acceptable behavior and make it easier to stand up for yourself — and others — and ultimately get what you need.

About the researcher

Adam Galinsky

Adam Galinsky is the Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics and at the Columbia Business...

Read more.
articles by Topic