Do you find it difficult to speak up at meetings?

Many people find this is difficult, they are happy to give their opinion in a group where they know everyone but the thought of speaking out at a formal meeting is more daunting especially if they are new to the group. My clients tell me they are worried about getting it wrong or not being taken seriously so what do you do? If this is your job and attending meetings is part of it then your contribution is important as you are part of the team. Perhaps this is a committee you sit on outside work then it is also important to have your say. Charities and local groups rely on volunteers with their wide range of experience and it can end up with the same people speaking up, if you have volunteered it is presumably because you are interested in the group or charity so your thoughts are important. It can seem difficult at the start to give your opinion or make a comment; but most meetings have agenda and sometimes supporting documents so you may be able to think about what you might contribute before. If not take a few deep breaths breath out slowly this will help you to feel calmer. If the accepted way of attracting the Chairman’s attention is to raise your hand then make sure you raise it properly to show you really want to say something. When you speak look up even if you are not feeling particularly confident it will make you look more confident. Make your point and then stop, it is tempting to add lots of explanations but give the rest of the room a chance to digest what you have said and then either comment or ask you further questions. Even if there are some comments that indicate not everyone agrees with the point you have raised it does not mean you have got it wrong or made a mistake. Your comment may mean the group looks at the issue form a different angle which may ultimately be of benefit. You have spoken up and next time it will not be so difficult persistence pays off.

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