How to speak up and get your voice heard
One of the most common issues that career and business women raise with me, is how to get their voice heard in meetings.
I remember as a newly appointed manager in a large corporate organisation, feeling intimidated by senior or more experienced colleagues. This led me to feel invisible and ineffective.
If that sounds like you, then what do you think is holding you back from sharing your thoughts and ideas?
Here are some of the most common reasons:
- You've nothing of value to add and you don't want speak for speaking sake
- You don't want to say the wrong thing and look stupid
- You're being respectful to seniors as their opinion is more important
- You're a reflective thinker and don't come up with responses in time
- Do they sound familiar?
Don't worry, it's very common and there are some simple tips and techniques that can make a big difference to you.
Have a go at these 3 to get you started:
Prepare before the meeting
Do you know the agenda? What items can you contribute to? What ideas or comments do you have? Can you collaborate with a colleague to support each other?
Preparation is extremely important, especially if you're a reflective thinker. Not only does it give you ideas or questions to ask but it also gives your confidence levels a boost
Speak up early
If you can speak up in the 1st 10 minutes, it takes the pressure off you and can stop all those self-doubts popping up. It doesn't have to be a really insightful idea, it can be a clarification a question or just an agreement with some else's point.
However, if you have an important idea you do want to share in the meeting, getting it in early ensures it comes from you. I'm sure we've all had that moment when a colleague explains the suggestion you were just about to share!
Avoid apologising and softening
When you are in a new situation or in an intimidating meeting you may find yourself apologising or softening your comments. Comments such as "I'd just like to ask..." or "This is probably not relevant but I was just thinking...." weaken any ideas or comments you share
Choose the one that resonates best with you and give it a go at your next meeting. It doesn't have to be a business meeting it can work just as well in social or networking events.