Do you find yourself in a meeting where you are a significant attendee because of your role in the team, family or company, but quietly listening and falling into a wallflower mode especially because you are socially challenged, shy, introvert or less confident with a new role or environment?
Being a stakeholder of the team, your silence is often thought of as sign of weakness, coldness, or disinterest. It creates a wrong impression for a passionate person who may simply be introverted, shy or hesitant.
Start attending meetings with confidence using 6 action tips that will add to your effectiveness and visibility in team meetings:
#1 Be prepared
You need to be prepared in the meeting in terms of what you know, what you can do and how you can perform well in the “game”. This requires a strategy – where to ‘attack’ the issue, how to defend if necessary and anticipate any surprise hit.
Find out key things as part of the preparation: know the agenda, review references if the organizer sent one, think through potential questions or issues and who else are attending. Knowing these can help you prepare a strategy before a meeting and boost your self-confidence beforehand.
#2 Come early for your ice breaker
Typical party or meeting engages in some ice breaker. Socially challenged, shy or introverted personalities require a “self ice breaker” to allow some time for warm up before the actual meeting. This allows you to be comfortable with the environment and enable you to establish rapport with the other attendees.
I find that doing this helps a lot in terms of establishing my presence in the room. It gives me the occasion to introduce myself to those whom I do not know yet, to make a pep talk with someone I have not seen for a long while or chat with a colleague about some work related matter in a light way (such as “did you see my email about…?”)
#3 Modulate your voice
Regardless of your role in the meeting, if you want to impress an image, you need to work up on the use of your voice. Image and credibility matters in every meeting as it builds up a brand called you.
Voice modulation is not about changing your natural voice. It is about giving color to your tone of voice. The change in volume, speed and pitch gives your talk a vocal variety.
When you need to emphasize on a word, you increase the volume of your speech; when you need to make the audience feel your words you act out the word as when you make a shaky voice when you say “afraid” ; when you need to express a mood such as when you slow down talking to say you are bored.
#4 Make a comment when you find yourself getting into the wallflower mode
Listen to the ensuing conversation and inject some comments to re-activate your presence in the meeting. Some comments can be in the form of a question to lead people to the solution especially when you have certain knowledge or expertise that can help churn out the answer.
Another scheme is by making a reaction to what was being said “wow”, “really” or ”unbelievable”. From a reaction, you can start contributing something by elaborating on your reaction in a brief way.
#5 Be honest with what you do not know
In a classroom environment, we were taught that – we should do our homework and so when asked a question, we are expected to answer or at least try.
The real world is different. You are facing a real life situation and a real problem to solve.
Did you notice that the smartest guy in your workplace invest on honesty to say “I also do not know the answer” and put up a smile? No one has all the answers immediately. And everyone has the right to say “I do not know”.
You can say “I am not quite sure that is right”, “I probably need to do some checking” or “Can you give me a moment to check that now?”
#6 Ask intelligent questions
Sometimes it is better for us to formulate the questions rather than wait for one to pop in our mind. By intentionally asking questions, it trains our brains to think and learn to be comfortable raising the questions.
Gary Lockwood of bizsuccess.com says that another benefit why you should ask questions with impact is to help the people you are asking to think deeper into the subject.
When attending a meeting, do not just ask about the “when”, “where”, “what” and “why”. Ask also about implications or relate these to the implications even if the nature of the discussion does not warrant that.
Next Level on Building Self-Confidence
Knowing what to do is a step to build self-confidence but doing what you ought to do put you to the next level.
By following the tips in little steps, you can use the meetings not only to be effective at work or life but also a way to project better impression on others.
Which tips are you already doing? Which ones do you think can you start using?
About the Author
Rob Leonardo is the creator of ConfidenceCues. Check out his Manifesto of Confident People Series, a FREE program for building self-confidence and achieving success in your own terms.