Want to Speak Up More at Meetings?

Do you feel like you can speak in public everywhere except in front of your colleagues? This is not uncommon, but it is important to overcome, as it could hamper your career. Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker, has some tips to help you be more confident at your next meeting.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #341

Here’s a letter from a reader: 

I am fairly confident when speaking except when I'm speaking at work, even when I'm prepared. For some reason, when I'm in meetings, I get tongue-tied and forget what I'm going to say. I'm in the technology field so it's imperative that I think and talk clearly and quickly. 

I'm reading Smart Talk and listening to your podcast. I attend Toastmasters semi-regularly and I've been looking for opportunities to speak outside of work. In fact, I taught a 3 hour class on Saturday and it went well. I'd like to feel just as comfortable and confident speaking with colleagues and experts in my profession.  I would be interested in possibly having you coach me.  Mary W.

Mary, one of my favorite activities is business and professional development coaching. However, due to the popularity of my podcast, I receive many requests for one-on-one help and unfortunately I can only take two to three coaching clients at a time, since I commit myself to making sure my clients accomplish their goals.

So let me give some general suggestions to help you, and others, move forward with your development.

First, it’s great that you’re already taking action on this. You’re stepping out, finding opportunities to speak in public to develop your overall confidence in public speaking. That will help.

And it’s not uncommon for people to feel confident speaking in front of strangers but shy among the people they know. There could be many reasons for this. Maybe you’re afraid of “messing up” in front of people you have to see every day. Maybe you’re concerned someone will disagree with you and you tend to avoid conflict. Maybe it’s a fear of asking a dumb question. Whatever it is, you can see the pattern here—it’s not public speaking you’re afraid of. It’s probably more a question of self-confidence. This is not at all uncommon, and it may be a little comfort to know it’s most common among the most intelligent (Is It Possible to Be Less Intelligent in Group Settings? Part 1 and Part 2) and the most talented (What Surprising Secret Do Katy Perry, Niall Horan, and Harrison Ford Have in Common?)! Nonetheless, these celebrities are proof that you too can overcome this issue.

Build Your Confidence

Since you’ve started speaking publicly, your next step is to build your own self-confidence. I’ve done several podcasts on this, and some of them have great links to resources that can really help you.

Thinking on Your Feet

How Power Poses Can Build Confidence

6 Body Language Secrets of Powerful People


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.