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Speaking up in meetings

Speaking up in meetings

Group meetings may feel intimidating. Speaking up in meetings is an opportunity to impact developing ideas, but it can also show up your ignorance in front of a large group.

But there are real advantages to speaking up.

  • You may influence ongoing events.
  • Your comments may prompt new ideas in your colleagues.
  • Speaking up gives other people a chance to get to know how you think.

There is less downside than you fear

The fear of speaking out is far worse than actually speaking in a meeting. That worst-case scenario you fear is not really going to happen.

What might happen if you speak out in a meeting ineffectively is that nobody will pay attention and forget you said anything.

Listen before you speak

Resist the urge to step up and show off your thoughts until you understand what the group is doing.

The ideas that people listen to are spoken by people who connect what they say to the group's needs. Your aim when you contribute is to connect the concerns of the people.

Prepare in advance

Think about the point you want to make in the meeting. Write down a sentence or two that highlights your main point or two.

While it seems strange to prepare for a comment, speaking in front of a group can be stressful. The amount of information you can hold in your mind decrease as your anxiety increase. That means you cannot count on getting the rights words out if you are not used to speaking in a meeting. Preparing will help to speak well.

Don't overthink it in the moment

The anxiety you feel before you say something in a meeting can cause you to back out altogether.

Therefore, try not to overthink it. When the point you want to discuss comes up on the agenda, immediately commit to contributing.

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