At an organization, your leadership potential and capabilities will be judged by your ability to contribute in meetings. Your participation in meetings and the things you say off the cuff are more important than what you say in a prepared speech or presentation because it is what you do every day.
Speaking up in a meeting can help you move up in your career, while holding back can hurt it. Don’t wait till others ask you to contribute to say something. Speak up if you have something to say. But there are also times when you should stay quiet. Here are some tips to help you speak—or not speak—in your next meeting.
Speaking in meetings is a form of public speaking, so it can be terrifying. To overcome that fear, challenge yourself to speak up in every meeting you attend. Don’t wait for something to come to your mind in a meeting in order to speak up. Prepare some bullet points of your thoughts in advance to outline what you’d like to say.
What is it that you love about your work? What makes you passionate about what you do and your role within your organization? When thinking about what you want to say in a meeting, connect it to your sense of purpose at work and that will help build your confidence. This is a good reminder that you can gain credibility and respect based on your passion for what you do rather than just your position and tenure at the job.
Talking in meetings, especially around upper management, can be nerve-wracking. Pause and breathe to center yourself and deliver your words with confidence and conviction.
Sometimes, the person who says the least in a meeting is the most effective. You could have more presence and power in a meeting by not speaking. Some signs that you might want to hold back from speaking in a meeting include the following:
If you’re only speaking to show off what you know or try to impress others, think twice about saying something. Let others talk or let the meeting naturally evolve rather than trying to show off because your attempt might backfire as people are likely to catch on to your intentions.
There are some conversations that would be better off reserved for a one-on-one meeting. For example, if you want to give feedback to your direct reports, you should only do that privately, as doing it in a team meeting can make the other person feel defensive.
Sometimes, people keep talking in a meeting because they want to try and help the rest of the team by providing solutions. However, this prevents others from being able to express their thoughts and find their own solutions because they aren’t given the space to do so. Giving your teammates the opportunity to speak up in a meeting is a great way to ensure that they are able to build their leadership skills and increase their visibility as well. This helps to mold you into a better leader as a result.
Speaking up in meetings is one of the most effective ways to raise your visibility in a company, build trust among your colleagues, and prove your leadership abilities. Strategically practicing when to speak up and when to hold your thoughts back in meetings can have a powerful impact on your career.
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