Here are some tips to overcome your fear to speak up in meetings
- Set yourself a goal for the meeting. You may want to say one thing about a specific agenda point. Once you have achieved this goal you’ll feel more confident.
- Prepare yourself thoroughly for the meeting. Practise the goal(s) you’ve set for yourself. Make a list of your thoughts that can be pertinent to the meeting. This includes practising using phrases and words used generally in such meetings.
- Use your expertise to provide needed context in the discussion. What is your specific expertise?
- Discuss items you want to raise in the meeting with somebody that will also be in the meeting ahead of the meeting. By doing this the other person will know that you would like to say something and he/she might even ask your opinion in the meeting.
- Do not use words or phrases that minimise what you have to say such as “I am not sure, but….”, “I don’t really know….” or “this might be a stupid question….”
- A quick way to draw attention to yourself is by raising your hand.
- Remember that you were invited for a reason. Even if your English isn’t fantastic, take a chance, make a few mistakes and speak up in meetings. You’ll be surprised at the results!
How and when to interrupt
“Excuse me for interrupting…”
“Sorry, can I just clarify….”
“Sorry, I didn’t quite understand that, can you say it again?”
“Yes, that’s a very good point, what about…..”
“I’ve never thought of it in that way….”
Adding valuable input
“Bringing value to meetings can benefit you and your colleagues. On a personal level, it can help to position you as an effective team player. Also, if you can contribute pertinent comments, constructive criticism, and practical suggestions, you’ll be seen as a “driver” rather than as a “passenger.”” – Mind Tools