The workplace can be a stressful environment. Meetings, in particular, can present a big challenge. Does the idea of voicing your opinions and presenting ideas bring you out in a cold sweat?
If you only struggle with a mild fear of public speaking, meetings can prove tricky. Not only is there pressure to speak clearly and succinctly, but you’re also aware your performance is being judged by your peers, as well as people who have authority over you.
The stakes can also be high. If a meeting goes well, you may be in line for a promotion. If it does not go as planned you could be overlooked, or worse still ignored.
Here are several helpful tips to make speaking up in meetings a little less daunting:
- Don’t rush into a meeting at the last minute. It’s good to have a chance to settle into the meeting space, even if it’s a video conference or you’re working remotely
- Think about what you want to say before you go into the meeting and make some notes to act as a prompt
- Practice out loud in advance what you would like to say. It really helps to rehearse speaking your words rather than just thinking about what you would say
- Settle into your chair, feel your feet on the floor and focus on your breathing. Taking some deeper, fuller breaths can really help to control any anxiety. Doing this will directly counteract the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Make sure you exhale longer than your inhale; this will calm your nerves
- It can be tempting to wait until the right minute to speak. But stress builds up because of the anticipation of waiting to speak, so contributing earlier in a meeting can help alleviate anxiety
It might seem easier to stay quiet and let others speak; but introducing your ideas, thoughts, and opinions are important because they are just as valid as anyone else’s. Also, by not expressing these, you are denying yourself the opportunity to be heard and taken seriously that you may not get again.
So the next time you find yourself in a meeting with something to say, don’t stay tight lipped – speak up!
To develop your public speaking skills, contact me at Eaglei for more information.