Do you struggle to speak up during meetings?

Maybe you’re an introvert: you often have ideas that feel like they’re worth sharing, but it’s just not in your nature to readily speak out loud to a group. Or, perhaps your team members are at the opposite end of that scale: they’re extroverts who speak so often that it’s hard for you to break into the conversation. Finally, if you’re working remotely, the virtual atmosphere of meetings poses additional challenges in determining when or how to speak up.

Sound familiar?

Your contributions are valuable.

 Remember, if you’ve been invited to participate in a meeting, it means your attendance is valuable. The most worthwhile meetings are those where attendees share thoughts, provide updates, discuss plans, and make suggestions. Chiming in can help you demonstrate your expertise in a supportive atmosphere, as well as build relationships with other attendees.

But it still may not be easy.

Even knowing the benefits of meeting participation, it may still be difficult for you to find your voice. Try:

  1. Working on your public speaking skills.

Stretch beyond your comfort zone by taking a course in public speaking. Once you begin to feel more comfortable with it, look for opportunities to practice what you’ve learned. Perhaps you can introduce a speaker at a conference or read out loud at a religious service, for example.

Then, before work meetings, think ahead about what you want to say – and rehearse that as well. Practice speaking out loud in front of a mirror or a trusted friend, until it feels more like second nature to you.

  1. Coming to every meeting prepared.

Before preparing your own thoughts, check out meeting agendas ahead of time so you know their purpose and what specific topics are planned for discussion. If the meeting leader hasn’t attached an agenda to their invitation, ask for one. This will help you nail the timing and effectiveness of what you have to say.

  1. Becoming a master of active listening.

Active listening is a skill in which you make a conscious effort to understand another person’s entire message before you speak. It’s based on knowing when it’s your turn to take the floor, using a range of verbal and non-verbal gestures, such as simple utterances, nods, and eye contact. It can really pack impact into your message when you do deliver it. Mastering active listening will make you a stronger, better, and more natural speaker going forward.

The experienced career coaches at PrideStaff Northern Kentucky can help you hone your public speaking, active listening and collaboration skills, as well as keep all your professional goals and aspirations on track in fields including accounting and finance, healthcare, IT, manufacturing, sales and marketing, and the skilled trades. Contact us today to learn more.

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