Business Bytes: 6 ways to overcome the fear of speaking in meetings

The thought of suggesting ideas to senior management at work can be just one of the few nerve-wracking situations we all face at work. However, having a voice in a workplace is often correlated to if you’re an employee that is worth keeping around, hence why it is so important to be able to speak among your colleagues and boss in meetings. Here are six ways to become more confident in meetings:

1) Stop thinking your ideas aren’t good enough
In meetings, it’s not always the best ideas that get remembered, they’re the ones which were suggested by the loudest people. You don’t need to scream and shout all of your brilliant ideas, but if you want to be heard and taken seriously, you will need to speak up. Your ideas aren’t stupid and they are good enough to be heard, your boss actually wants to hear them, so find the courage when your opinion is requested.

2) Pay attention to your body language  
If you’re hunched over the table or speaking softly, people in the meeting will not take you seriously. Project your voice when you need to, sit up and keep your hands on the table. If you lean in, you will seem more interested in the discussion and if you make sure you keep eye contact with colleagues when you talk, you will seem more confident in what you are saying.

3) Practice 
Practice makes perfect, right? If you go into the meeting with a clear view of what you want to say, you are more likely to say it. Say it to yourself a few times before you head to work and have it in your mind what you would like the outcome to be. If you try sharing your view in more conversations in and out of the workplace too, you are going to be less afraid of saying it in a meeting.

4) You’re not useless just because you’re not senior 
Even if you’re fairly new to the company, this doesn’t mean that you can’t speak in a meeting. You were hired because your boss thought you would bring something to the company, so they already believe in your abilities, so don’t make them regret their decision. Stop thinking that just because you’re not a senior member of staff, you can’t speak up in a meeting. After all, you could end up saying something brilliant!

5) Get to the point 
When do you speak up in a meeting, make sure your point isn’t going to take 20 minutes to explain. If you put it as simply as possible and concentrate on making a very good suggestion, you will come across more clearly and more like you know what you’re going on about. Your colleagues are also more likely to remember something you said if it was short, snappy and sweet.

6) Don’t think that you’re not popular enough
Unfortunately, workplaces can often still be like school, where people are more likely to listen to the popular few. It’s ok to not always get involved in office discussions, but if you’re not willing to share some ideas occasionally, you will go unnoticed and will seem uninterested in the job. Who cares if you’re coming up with better ideas than the popular crowd, that’s not your problem and you should be more concerned with succeeding rather than trying to be someone you’re not.