Coming into the workforce, I was fresh out of college with a lot of knowledge, ready to make an impact wherever I landed. Yet, I was super nervous about not making a good first impression and failing. You see, I was the student that would know the answers to questions in class, but never felt like speaking up. I always had my opinions, but hardly ever shared them. I never wanted to feel like the “know it all” in class and I dreaded being “wrong,” so I stayed silent. I even had a professor in shock once when I took a final exam because I did well, yet never spoke in class. In his words, I was the “silent but smart” student. My point in bringing this up is that to this day, I wish I had spoken up and given out my answers/opinions because it would’ve made a huge difference to my job now.
What It Means To Have A Take
Having a take means sharing your opinion, standing up and speaking from your experience, your knowledge, and your mind. Having a take isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing with what someone else says, but making sure you’re not saying something just because it’s what everyone else wants to hear.
Putting your take out into the world means having the potential to be wrong (depending on what it is you’re having a take on). Many people don’t like the thought of being wrong or being in the wrong, but in order to be right, you have to put your take out there. You can’t be like my college self and sit silent. Change isn’t going to happen if you don’t speak up.
How Having a Take Can Change You as a Marketer
Ever since I’ve changed my mindset and have started having a take, I’ve seen a few things happen/change with the way I do my job as the Marketing Manager of Imagine. Use these as an opportunity to influence your job, too.
1. I started providing deeper value. I’m not saying I wasn’t providing value before, but I’m now providing a more impactful value than before. This value stretches to the company (in my case, Imagine), my coworkers, and the world. If you switch your mindset and put your opinion out there, you give a whole new perspective for others to think about. I’m not saying that you have to disagree and give your perspective differently all the time, you just have to make sure you’re saying what you really feel. If all you say is what others want to hear, how much value is that truly providing? Is it getting you where you want to go with your work or your job? Probably not.
As a marketer, your job is to make sure that your customers are getting the best experience and the most value/knowledge out of what you do. If you feel like something is off with the new web page design or the way someone has worded messaging, say something -- and give your take as to why. Your perspective now gives someone something to think about. That’s how you create change. By not having a take or by holding back your take, you give up on the opportunity to make an impact for your company and/or for your customers. Speaking up is how you create forward motion to put you and your company in a better position than before.
2. My conversations reached a new level. Again, it’s not like I wasn’t having in-depth conversations before. They were just more rare and sporadic than they are now. I see myself digging deeper into content and actions that we take, rather than just “getting the job done.” I’m making sure that I’m getting the most out of everything I do, not just for our company’s benefit, but for the customer’s, too. These deeper conversations have led to me asking more in-depth questions. I’m no longer just scratching the surface; I’m making sure I’m digging beneath the surface.
Having more in-depth conversations are simple to achieve if you’re willing to put forth the effort to have them. What I mean is that having a take isn’t just about your opinion, it’s about backing up what you have to say with information. Incorporating data into your take is a huge step toward having deeper conversations. This allows you to really dive into the topic, rather than relying on opinions to get you to the other side of whatever you’re talking about.
In the grand scheme of things, you become more productive by using data and having deeper conversations. You’ll see that your curiosity peaks and ideas start to flow. You’ll have greater insights. (Notice I didn’t say answers because data isn’t the answer, it’s the path to the answer.) By having a take and backing it up with data, you’ll show your thought process better and showcase your true abilities as a marketer.
Since I started looking at data and incorporating it into my conversations, it has changed how we approach creating content, updating website pages, improving emails and more. As a marketer, it’s important to utilize the data you have to make decisions, so if you aren’t currently incorporating it into your conversations, you need to be.
3. I went from asking permission to getting it done. I found that there were times where because I wasn’t having a take or putting one out there, I fell into a mind trap. I didn’t feel creative, and I definitely was only doing the bare minimum. I realized I was falling into a loop of asking the same question of “Can I?” or “What do you think about this?” to everything I did. In the end that was getting me nowhere.
Now I find that I’m thinking more strategically. I’m putting ideas together and getting rough drafts completed before asking for thoughts, rather than asking about it, doing it and asking again. I’m taking initiative to move my work forward. I’ve noticed that I get better responses out of my coworkers from this approach because I’m taking action first and not always asking permission first.
If you work on achieving this mindset, you too will see the benefits of it. Your work will go from a reactive state to a proactive state where you work ahead of things rather than change them as you go. You’ll find that your confidence boosts, too. Instead of saying “I think…” or “Maybe we should…” the conversations change to “This is what I did,” or “We should…” Having more of a take allows you to be certain in what you’re saying rather than answer a question with something that sounds like another question. Through this confidence, you learn to be bold and step out and take a chance. I’ve noticed I’m more okay with having an idea that fails or a thought that is wrong because I’m learning and I go in with confidence.
While this all sounds to be relatively simple and seems like a cookie-cutter way to improve yourself, it’s not all “rainbows and butterflies.” I would be lying if I said this process has been easy, and I want to acknowledge that I’m still very new to the marketing world. I’m at the very beginning of my journey and still have a lot to learn.
What I can tell you about this process is that it can be terrifying and at points not the most fun thing in the world. That’s because when you stop asking for permission, you really own your work; you take full responsibility for what you put into the world. You put yourself out on the line to make mistakes and fail. And you will fail. You can’t make changes if you never mess something up. If you have a bad idea, that’s on you and no one else. You have to learn to embrace the mistakes and failures. That’s the only way you’ll improve and become more confident, and because it’s difficult and takes more of your thought process, your capability grows. The one thing you should know if you’re thinking about making this change is that it’s challenging and you have to be willing to fall down more often than you’d like. It’s when you pick yourself back up that you start to see the changes.
Having a take isn’t just an opinion that you put out into the world. It’s not just something you believe in, it’s a whole mindset that changes the way you talk and think about your work and/or the world. Making this switch will take some hard work and patience on your part, but the outcomes are worth it. In a world with a lot of opinions, data and noise, having a take is one of the most important things you can do to stand out and be unique -- even if your take is similar to others. It shows you can be your own person, and the benefits will help you immensely. Don’t let someone else stand in the way of you being a better version of yourself. Start having a take, owning your work, and becoming a better marketer.