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

Speak Up at Meetings

While you’re working on your confidence, you need to bite the bullet and speak at meetings. Perhaps you’ve heard Mark Twain’s quote, “Eat a frog first thing every morning and nothing worse will happen to you all day.” It’s a great reminder to do what you dislike most first, and everything is smooth sailing after that! So plan to speak up within the first 10 minutes of the meeting. In the beginning, keep it simple: agree with something someone said, or agree and add a little point or an anecdote. Then maybe work up to asking a question. Once you begin participating, you will start to get positive feedback (unless you work in a toxic environment. In which case, get out as soon as possible). This will also build your confidence, and you’ll begin to feel more comfortable sharing your own ideas.

When you’re at the meeting, watch your posture. Sit up straight, showing confidence. 

When you’re at the meeting, watch your posture. Sit up straight, showing confidence. Speak from the diaphragm so you can be heard at the other end of the table. Smile and make eye contact.

Enlist Help

Mention to a colleague who is a good friend that you would like to start sharing more. Ask if he can support you at meetings. Ask him, if you share something would he back you up with a positive follow-up comment? Would he ask you a pre-determined question, which you have prepared an answer for, that will highlight your knowledge and skills? Once you have several positive experiences speaking at a meeting, you will find it gradually easier, until it becomes natural.

I encourage you to try these methods. I also recommend asking for a mentor—a senior leader in your Toastmaster's district to help you work on your goals. If you still think you’d benefit from a professional coach, feel free to contact me, or another qualified coach with a proven track record.

After you've given some of this a try, let me know which of these techniques helped you most! I'd love to add your experience to a future blog or podcast!

This is Lisa B. Marshall, moving you from mediocre to memorable, from information to influence, and from worker to leader! I invite you to read my best-selling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview, listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk, and invest in your professional development via my online courses Powerful PresenterExpert Presenter, or Influence: Maximize Your Impact.

As always, your success is my business!  

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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.