Learning how to take up space in a virtual room
The experiences that stick out most are probably the ones when I struggled the most. With my first team at Dropbox, I had a hard time speaking up in meetings. I often felt that whatever needed to be said had already been said, so when anyone asked if I had something to add, I’d respond: “No, that all makes sense!” or “I agree with what __ said!”
My internship manager, Sandra Bilbrey, told me that even when I agreed with the rest of the team, I still had a unique perspective and helpful ideas to contribute. I think about this even now, because it helped me validate my reasons for being here. It feels risky to say something that might seem dumb or wrong afterward, but that’s the only way to do it. You must say what you think, mess up a few times, and be comfortable doing so. It’s like improv—if you don’t spit out all of your ideas, including the bad or incomplete ones, you’ll never get to the good ideas. In that same vein, good communication comes with practice.