Speaking Up: A Guide to Navigating Team Meetings
Meetings are a common occurrence in the business world. They create a situation where you can build your reputation and bring value to your company with your ideas and insights. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a chance to speak up in meetings.
If you find yourself unable to express yourself in meetings, not only can it be discouraging, it can mean not offering the company much-needed perspective or insights. Fortunately, you can do things to help you speak up more in meetings and share your thoughts with your team's rest.
1. Give yourself a specific goal.
If you try to go from not speaking in meetings to trying to talk every chance there is a slight lull in the conversation, you may overwhelm yourself with pressure. Instead, pick one specific, doable goal that you can build upon. Something as small as speaking up once per meeting is a good goal. It's a goal you can quickly achieve, and once you do, you'll begin to feel better about yourself and your abilities. This can build the confidence you need to continue to share.
The more prepared you are for your meetings, the easier it will be to participate. It gives you a chance to formulate questions and opinions about the topic at hand. You can even ask for a meeting agenda, and write some notes of some things you might want to say. It eliminates the pressure of having to think up a response on the spot and make it easier for you to offer input.
3. Raise your hand
It may sound a bit juvenile, but give it a try. Raising your hand can indicate to those around you that you have something to add, something people may not have noticed before. It signals that you have something to share, but it also gives you a chance to figure out what you want to say before you say it.
4. Pause and take a deep breath
Even for the most outspoken people, it can be daunting to speak up in meetings. Taking a deep breath can calm your anxieties and boost the confidence you need to speak up. It will also strengthen your voice, which will make you sound more confident than you feel.
5. Think out loud
Sometimes when you want to add something but don't have it thoroughly thought out, say it anyway. Your ideas do not need to be perfect, or as well-formulated as you think. Don't say the first thing that comes to mind, but speak up before you usually do to get your idea out. If you wait too long, you may miss your chance to speak at all. Even if it's incomplete, your thought can enhance the conversation in the meeting and offer a new perspective.
Vega Inspired Solutions is here to support people as they navigate their careers. If you need some advice, contact us, and we will assist you with top of the line business coaching.