There’s a straightforward action that you can use to boost your credibility and build your professional exposure. A way to make yourself more memorable at work and support others in your team. That action is simply to speak up in meetings.
Although simple, it’s not always easy! You may often find there are attendees in a meeting with big personalities, and this can be intimidating. With most of our meetings currently via Zoom or Teams, it can be a little harder to find the right gap in proceedings to make your voice heard.
Here’s our advice to ensure that you have your say and end the meeting feeling satisfied that you have made your contribution.
Our first tip is to look at the agenda in advance. Examine the topics and decide which ones you feel you can contribute to. Jot down the things you want to say alongside the relevant agenda item to jog your memory. If you haven’t had a chance to make your point and feel the discussion is drawing to an end, simply raise your virtual hand and keep it up until the chairperson asks you to speak.
Of course, you won’t necessarily have a big idea to add to every discussion, and that’s ok. Tip two is to find a way to support others. You can thank them for the work they have done leading up to the meeting, compliment them on their points, or ask questions about others’ ideas.
Our third tip is to talk earlier rather than later. If you sit silently until the end of the meeting, it is somehow harder to speak. It’s a bit like a pressure cooker; the longer you remain quiet, the more intense the atmosphere feels. Say something early on, and it will help you break the ice, making you feel more relaxed. It might just be a hello to everyone before the meeting starts. Arrive a couple of minutes before the official start time, and there’ll usually be a chance for a bit of social chat, which can relax you and help you to feel confident about speaking up later in the meeting.
We also find that with remote meetings, there might be someone attending that you don’t know, as it’s easy for people to be invited to jump on the call at short notice. I once sat through a half-hour meeting with an individual who was not introduced, and I had no idea who he was. By 10 minutes in, it felt too awkward to ask. So if there’s someone you haven’t met before, speak up early and introduce yourself, giving them the chance to do the same.
If you have something you want to say and you are finding it difficult to find an opening use the chat function. Extrovert personalities can appear to take over and interrupt others; interrupting is not intended to be rude, instead it’s often a consequence of excitement, although the impact will likely be negative. If you find yourself getting interrupted, try letting them finish, thank them, and then bring the discussion back to what you were saying with a phrase such as ‘as I was saying’.
If you are an extrovert, you probably kick yourself whenever you interrupt, so a tip for you, try writing down your thoughts as they come into your mind. This will relieve your concern about forgetting your point and allow you time to add it to the conversation when there is a pause.
For our final tip, if you leave the meeting feeling as though you were not able to contribute your point, you can always follow with an email. Whether you ask for clarification, add points to the discussions or thank them for their time, it will help to raise your profile.
Let your voice be heard
How do you ensure that you make your point during meetings? If you have any great tips to share, do let us know.