A quote from Alan Weiss:
Confront EVERY issue. Life is too short to be worried about what people think of you.
Too many communication issues are a result of our fear of confrontation, simply because we are afraid of what others will say about us. I count myself within that group, at times and with certain people. Identifying the times and the people who cause that reaction, is a good step toward overcoming that fear.
You gain respect when you confront people who are more successful, more powerful, or more confident than you are. Doing so, and doing it well, raises your profile in everyone's eyes, including your own. But that only happens when you are willing to step forward, and take a risk.