I’ve been thinking about you and whether you’ve been having any challenge in speaking up in meetings, especially since we’ve transitioned to virtual. Whether it’s in person or virtual, if you or someone you know is having a hard time speaking up, I wanted to offer some foundational thoughts and practices around that.
And notice I say that particular meeting; every meeting will have a different reason as to why. You’ve got to be very clear on why you want to make a contribution. Maybe it’s because you’re the leader and so you need to demonstrate your authority, or maybe you want to influence a particular outcome. Maybe there’s somebody in the meeting that you really want them to notice you because you’re interested in working in their department or want to be on a project with them, or maybe it is because you’ve been vying for a promotion and you need to demonstrate that presence, that leadership – you have to know why.
If you’re just showing up and saying, “Hey, I’d like to get noticed and I want to sound really intelligent, and I’m just going to start speaking up,” that’s going to backfire on you, that will actually be worse than you saying nothing at all. So be clear for the meeting why.
And that takes us to the second point, listening. Once you are there, the best way for you to speak up is to actually listen. The more present you are, the more engaged and active listening that you’re participating in, the more likely you are to think of a really great contribution, some research, a suggestion, or a question to ask. Spend more time being present in that meeting, actively listening, than sitting back here thinking, “Well what can I say, what can I ask? What contribution can I make?” Be here, present, active listening.
What tips do you have to help speak up more in meetings, whether that’s in person or virtually? What are your experiences right now? Comment below.