Learn how to find your voice in meetings as an introvert
If you’re an introvert, or simply just a little shy, it can be hard to find the confidence to find your voice in meetings. It can be challenging, especially when there are others who often take charge and lead meetings seemingly with effortless ease.
We’ve put together a couple of tips to help you get over that self-doubt and have your say.
Before we start, we just want to preface with the important message that there is no need to change your personality to contribute and lead in the workplace. We all have unique and wonderful qualities that help make us proficient in our roles no matter if we are an introvert or extrovert!
Let’s get started.
Plan your thoughts and talking points out in advance
If you are aware of the agenda of a meeting, or briefly what would be involved, try to make notes of things you want to discuss or bring up. This helps you to avoid getting stuck or put on the spot and can work as a meeting checklist to ensure you have that extra push to speak up.
If you struggle with expressing your points, it could also be beneficial to pre-plan your choice of words or even have a loose ‘script’ to keep you in line with getting your thoughts out clearly.
With that extra courage you can even be the first person to bring up certain points. You could simply start with, ‘I had a note here about X,’ and encourage discussion around key points you wanted to touch on.
Get accustomed to the phrase ‘That’s interesting, let’s come back to that.’
Of course, we can’t always control where meetings go, and new ideas arise rapidly. This can be quite stressful when you may have a thought(s) but need a little more time to articulate yourself. Instead of saying nothing you could say, ‘that’s really interesting, I have some thoughts on that, but let’s come back to it.’ This gives you some time to reflect in the meeting and the ability to bring it up later without any awkwardness.
Believe in yourself and your value
Sometimes our introversion or shyness can be a sign that we’re not so sure our input makes a difference. Maybe you think you don’t have anything new to say in comparison to your colleagues but every single voice is important, and it can be handy to remind yourself of this. You never know what you say that could spark a new conversation or idea.
Remind yourself before you step into a meeting that you are intelligent, thoughtful, and create value in your place of work. This can be a small but effective confidence boost when it comes to speaking up.
Add on to other people’s discussion/comments to begin with
If you are really struggling to start to speak up it can be helpful to agree or add on to other people’s comments. This is a great way to join the discussion and get used to having a voice. You may simply agree, or someone’s point of view could trigger a question or thought in you that you can share. Don’t be scared to do this as soon as you feel inspired!
Perhaps there are things being raised that you are unsure about. A great way to add your voice is to ask questions. Many people in the room may be feeling the same but don’t want to ask. You can ask any kind of question to do with the topics being discussed, from gaining clarification to ‘what if’ type of questions.
Be open about how you communicate
As mentioned earlier in this blog, there is no shame in being quiet or working differently. Be open about that and integrate it into how you communicate. For example, if you were quieter than you had hoped during a meeting, before everyone leaves you can say something like, ‘If I think of something about X, I will email you about it after this.’ This gives you time to reflect on the discussion that has just passed and to present your thoughts in a succinct and efficient way. This integrates that phrase mentioned above about coming back to things later.
Be more honest with that approach and say:
‘Give me a minute to formulate some thoughts on that,’
‘Let me just process that and I will let you know what I’m thinking.’
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, meetings can put people on the spot and force instant thinking which isn’t an easy task for most people. It’s okay to buy yourself some time, plan, add on to other notes, and even practice discussions with people you are comfortable with!
Overall, preparation and self-confidence can go hand in hand. Let those be the tools up your sleeve in your next meeting!
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