Imagine, you're in a meeting. You've got an insight to share. You wait for the right moment: maybe a pause in the conversation. You listen carefully as others exchange ideas back and forth. Finally, the right moment comes! You lean forward and open your mouth... and then you close it. The meeting ends, and you haven’t shared your valuable insight.
Why is it so hard to speak up? We're good at our job. We've got ideas to share, but when it comes to sticking our neck out and saying what we think, we often keep quiet. It's all about fear, isn't it? It’s the fear of making mistakes and looking foolish. Speaking up in front of others can feel downright stressful!
Here’s a simple 2-step trick to take the stress away.
- Set your expectations low
Setting expectations low gives you the confidence to speak up. It doesn’t mean your words are unimportant! It simply removes any obligation to blow everyone’s minds with what you’re about to say.Mentally position what you’re about to say as adding to the content. Decide that what you’re about to say is like a valuable spice you’re adding to a dish - it’s not the main ingredient.
- Have a few starter phrases ready
Set the tone before you share. These phrases convey the feeling that you’re about to add a spice and not the main ingredient. They give you confidence to get your foot in the door.
“Can I add something here? It won’t apply to everyone but it may be important to some of you.”
“Can I share my thoughts here? I’ve got something to say that might be worth considering.”
“I’m not as familiar as some of you with this, but can I share what I’ve noticed. It might be useful.”
“I’ve been listening carefully and I have a comment that might give a different viewpoint.”
Speaking up in a meeting can feel like a big deal. You can reduce the stress by turning it into a small deal and having the first few words ready. These two steps will help make sure that when the meeting ends, your valuable insights have been heard!