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Whether you're a recent graduate, have years of work experience, or are a natural introvert, it’s important to fight against your lack of confidence to talk in meetings—and find ways to gain the courage to speak up and be bold. Below are eight tips for finding your voice in meetings.
1. Speak first
Before the meeting, take the time to prepare your thoughts. When the time comes to discuss the topic, be the first to speak. Doing so gives you the opportunity to create the discussion instead of delaying your insights, or hearing someone else offer the same ideas you had.
2. Practice your delivery
Part of making yourself heard is speaking smoothly. We’ve all been guilty of relying on space-fillers like “kinda,” “um,” and “you know?” Qualifiers like these detract from the professional image we seek to convey. It might sound silly, but try to practice what you'll say out loud before attending your next meeting.
3. Agree with good ideas
Even if you don’t have anything new to add, affirm others’ ideas. Doing so shows you’ve been paying attention, and your colleague will appreciate the kudos and support.
4. Ask questions
This is one of the easiest ways to speak up in a meeting. Show you're engaged and involved by asking questions that will spur the discussion or clarify an idea.
5. Take notes
This is especially important in longer meetings or meetings that are introducing a new concept. Jot down notes and be prepared to readdress them when the discussion opens.
6. State it clearly
To further emphasize your point, consider starting your thoughts with phrases such as “I strongly suggest” or “I recommend.”
7. Believe in yourself
Your opinions and ideas are no less valid than anyone else's at the table. Be fearless in owning your beliefs and don’t allow self-doubt to cloud your convictions.
8. Don’t censor yourself
Voice your real opinion. If you do that, you'll be seen as the valuable professional with expert opinions that you are.
In a fast-changing work environment, businesses need everyone’s best thinking to achieve the best outcomes. Take ownership of your opinions and find the courage to assert your ideas. You’ll be glad you did. And it won’t go unnoticed by your managers and coworkers.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
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