3 ways to speak up confidently in meetings
You’re in a meeting, and you find that you want to speak.
You have something to say, whether it’s to ask a question; challenge someone’s opinion; express an idea or comment on something that’s been said.
But, at that moment the fear kicks in and you find yourself worrying about speaking.
What will they think?
Everyone will look at me
Will they think it’s a stupid question?
What if it’s not right?
What if I don’t know what I’m talking about?
What if it goes wrong?
What if I don’t know what to say next?
And instead of speaking, you stay silent, and the meeting moves on — and you end up leaving the meeting and kick yourself for not speaking up when you wanted to.
If so, you’re not alone.
So, how do you get over this?
Tip #1-Know that you’re there for a reason
You were invited to the meeting for a reason. Because, your opinion matters and is valued. You weren’t invited to just keep the seat warm or make up the numbers. The fact that you’re sat in the room and around the table means that what you say has value, so take comfort in the fact that you have permission to be there, and speak.
Tip #2-Prepare as much as possible
If possible take some time to look over the agenda, and any notes or documents that go with the meeting. This will help you feel much more prepared and allow you to think of some questions before-hand that you can raise in the meeting. Just the act of preparing will really help to boost your confidence.
Tip #3-Speak to a couple of people before-hand
Try and get there a couple of minutes earlier and introduce yourself to a couple of people in the meeting, and have a quick 2 minute small talk chat. This will have allowed you to break the ice before the meeting takes place rather than when you actually want to speak. You can also direct your comment to these people during the meeting, so it feels like you’ve got some friendly faces in the room rather than just talking to strangers.
Bonus Tip — Know it get’s better with practice
Just like anything, this really does get better with practice. So, keep at it!
I’d love to hear your tips, thoughts and stories of speaking up in meetings. Let me know in the comments.