[Published on Grammarly’s blog, Aug. 3, 2018
Meetings are like going to the dentist. Nobody really enjoys being there listening to the facilitator gibber-gabber like an adult in a Charlie Brown special.
The nightmare setup looks something like this . . .
You are the last one to walk into the companywide meeting on Monday morning. There are no donuts left. The only open seat is next to your boss. The atmosphere is, somehow, already tense—and you’ve forgotten to bring your report.
What’s worse: this meeting or having a cavity filled?
Okay, so maybe meetings aren’t always that bad. But they aren’t always the easiest place to express your opinions, either. If you’ve ever felt self-conscious speaking up in a meeting, you aren’t alone.
Meetings are the most common workplace setting where people are rendered speechless by nerves. But don’t write yourself off as an introvert just yet. Even people who regularly voice their concerns can struggle with being ignored or overpowered by bigger players in the meeting room.
With these tips, you can learn to articulate your thoughts and convey your ideas, no matter the meeting’s situation.
Master Your Meeting Prep
Once you have the meeting’s agenda, find something on it that you can speak confidently and passionately about. If you have a budding opinion about one of the agenda items, develop it into an insightful, practical statement. This way, you’ll feel more self-assured going into the meeting. Strive to put a new idea out there first.
If you’re absolutely stumped going into a meeting—well, first, maybe you shouldn’t be there. Second, you can offer one of these three typical meeting-style responses as you partake:
- Ask a question
- Repeat what’s been said in your own words
- Comment on what you’ve heard
Armed with a prepared response, you should arrive five to ten minutes before the meeting kicks off. Make small talk, find a seat, and settle in. You’ll be more comfortable with your own voice if you are comfortable in your surroundings. Once you’ve already spoken with people in the room, you’ll be more likely to speak up again.