Have you ever found yourself in a meeting where you have nothing to contribute? Do you lack the confidence to speak up? Being introverted, soft-spoken, or unsure about your own knowledge are issues that need to be resolved so that you can use meetings as an opportunity to get noticed.
Fortunately, becoming adept at getting your point across in meetings is a skill that can be acquired with some practice, conscious effort and support from public speaking communities such as Toastmasters. Online course providers such as betterU provide several courses on personal development and office productivity as well. Here are a few things you can do to get yourself noticed in meetings:
- Prepare for your meetings in advance:
Most meetings are planned in advance, giving you enough time to prepare for them before they actually happen. Start by demanding a clear agenda from the meeting organizer so that you know exactly what to expect. Once you’re aware of the topics of discussion, do some research and prepare notes on key points you would like to address. Once the meeting begins, follow the flow of discussion closely and bring in your points where relevant. In every meeting, try to cover at least one of the points that you have jotted down during your preparation.
- Get a jump-start:
One person usually sets the tone for the discussion and then others gradually join in with their points. This means that the intensity of the meeting will keep increasing, reducing the number of opportunities for you to bring in your points. Try to get your points in at the very beginning and setting a context and tone for the meeting. If you’re able to set the context for the meeting, you will open up multiple opportunities where you can contribute. The audience will also be keenly interested in what you have to say, giving you the confidence you need!
- Be sure of yourself:
While the general idea behind meetings is collaboration, everyone sees it as an opportunity to get noticed and lead. There will usually be people who might not be willing to agree with every statement you make. With such an audience, it becomes very important to be sure of what you’re saying. Use phrases which convey that you are sure of yourself and the topic, such as “In my experience” or “As per my research” instead of “I think”. Data and facts can be your best friends in meetings because nobody can refute them!
- Be assertive, but not aggressive:
In extremely passionate meetings and discussions, there might be a lot of interruptions and loud voices. It is very important to keep your composure in meetings. When trying to get into the discussion, don’t be rude and interrupt people. Instead, corroborate someone else’s statement by saying “I agree with your suggestion, perhaps there is an alternative to this”. At the same time, meetings are no place for niceties. If you’re in the middle of making an important point, ensure that you are not interrupted! It is completely acceptable to ask people to let you finish your point before they put in theirs!
Speaking well in meetings and other soft skills are essential for your growth in an organization. betterU has dedicated courses on speaking up at meetings and several other self-development and office productivity courses. These can help you become the ideal employee and set yourself on the path to quick growth!