If you’ve ever experienced the debilitating feeling of being unable to ask questions or share ideas during a meeting, you’re not alone. Perhaps, like me, you prefer to listen and digest what is being said before contributing.
But think about it, what’s the worst that can happen? You might fumble with your words and fail to capture your colleagues’ attention, or someone might disagree with your opinion. While this isn’t ideal, it certainly isn’t the end of the world. Accepting that that’s truly the worst case scenario, you can shift your attention away from your irrational fear and focus on improving your ability to communicate confidently in meetings and at work.
Communication Skills Training Tips
If you are yet to learn to communicate confidently, don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time to become mIf you are yet to learn to communicate confidently, don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time to become more comfortable communicating at work, especially if you’re not as experienced as your colleagues or just started a new job. Give yourself the opportunity to practice communicating more effectively, and, combined with the communication skills training tips below, you’ll certainly start to see improvements.
Shift Your Mindset
Adjusting the way you think and talk to yourself is the first step toward communicating more confidently. While you may feel that you don’t know enough, or feel obligated to let others speak before contributing to the conversation, this sort of negative self-talk is not only false, but can be modified by shifting your mindset.
Remind yourself that you might not be the only person with the same burning question – your colleagues might be just as afraid to speak up. In addition, the idea that you’ve been pondering over might shed light on a problem from an entirely new perspective. It could even lead to a much needed breakthrough.
Prepare to Participate
Speaking up at work, particularly during meetings, will feel a lot easier and less stressful if you mentally prepare yourself beforehand. Read the agenda and draft a few responses. This is especially important if you’re an introvert or just need time to think before speaking. If there are any points you want to address, write them down in your notebook and have it at hand during the meeting.
If possible, practise your responses in front of a family member, friend, or colleague. Ask them for honest, constructive feedback. If this isn’t an option, simply rehearsing on your own will do. When it’s time to attend the meeting, position yourself to contribute confidently and visibly by grabbing a seat at the table instead of hovering in the back of the room.
You can also warm up for your next meeting by attending the Storytelling Club Storytellers Gym by Skillsme Academy. The Storytellers Gym allows you to practice storytelling and communication. In the Storytellers Gym online sessions, participants meet in pairs. Both participants will have an opportunity to share their stories and give feedback to the other. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn to think on your feet and speak confidently.
Jump in Early
A terrific way to relieve yourself of self-induced anxiety and fear is to jump in early on during a meeting, instead of waiting until you feel ‘ready’. The longer you wait, the more difficult it tends to be to talk at all. If you aren’t sure what to say, you can offer your support to coworkers by vocalising agreement with an idea or concern that they discussed. However, only do this if your words are sincere. This will help you get used to speaking in front of your colleagues and will eventually make it easier for you to discuss your own thoughts.
Listen and Learn
Another simple trick is to learn by observing others. Pay attention to individuals who you believe are excellent at holding their own during meetings. Write down any behaviours that you notice that make them appear confident or facilitate effective communication, such as their body language or tone of voice. Then try and incorporate a few of them yourself during your next work discussion.
Many people, including myself, find that it’s more nerve wracking to speak during a virtual meeting than in person. Why is this? It could be that it’s easier to feel ignored, as people tend to multitask and not give you their undivided attention. To combat this, use your webcam, as people are more likely to pay attention to you if you can see one another. Using noticeable body language, such as raising your hand, may also be effective.
Communication Skills Training with Skillsme Academy
These tips are a terrific way to help you communicate more confidently at work. A combination of these tips, a little perseverance, and patience will certainly lead to improvements in your communication abilities.
In addition to the Storytelling Club Storytellers Gym mentioned above, you can enrol in the Skillsme Storytelling Course to boost your confidence to communicate even further. This course could be just the thing you need to knock your coworkers socks off during your next company meeting.
If these tickled your fancy, you might also want to join us for more communication skills training with our free webinar on confidence and charisma building.