Finding your voice. Speaking up in meetings

  • Posted by: James Marshall
  • Category: Business
Finding your voice

A number of people recently have asked questions in our leadership programmes about the difficulties of speaking up in meetings. Either because they are new, inexperienced or maybe have a more introverted preference. It can be nerve-wracking sitting there worrying you are not making an impact. What are some of the habits and mindsets of people who make an impact in meetings?

  • Think hard about the purpose of the meeting and what people want from it. What might be important to the people attending? What might be the barriers to success?
  • Greet people and connect with them before the meeting has started. Connection before communication helps enormously
  • Say something early to calm yourself
  • Stay present through breathing. James Nestor’s book on breathing is so insightful. Effective breathing is now an established part of high performance. Stay present through noticing your breath. Do not go into your own stories about how you might be being perceived. (Spotlight Syndrome?)
  • Really listen to what people are saying and what it means to them. Take notes
  • Learn the art of reflecting back on what you have heard and steer the conversation towards a new point or question
  • Connect two points that have been made by participants to make a new point
  • Ask questions about what you notice and maybe how it links to the agenda
  • Do not try to look good, be in service of the meeting and the agenda
  • Watch and notice how people make contributions, what works and what doesn’t?
  • Make bigger points about the system you observe or the dilemmas and polarities that the team faces
  • Afterwards, ask for feedback from a trusted colleague to see how you come across
Author: James Marshall