Even the quieter, or silent member of a team has a voice. The challenge is sometimes
- Their inability to be able to share it
- Our inability to draw out
Here we look at ways in which anyone can learn to speak more confidently and clearly, in meetings, in front of challenging people or scenarios
1. Your view is important
If you do not value your own opinion, then how will someone else value it. Potentially not easy, however consider this analogy.
You are sat in a room full of people and notice smoke smouldering in the corner. Do you stay silent?
Of course not, you would confidently and calming notify colleagues and the leader.
Ok, the point you are holding onto may not be life or death, but it could be the difference to an idea working, or in how you are perceived by others?
Your opinion does matter
2. Use a softener
A softener is useful way of adding your point, or raising a question, in a non-attacking way. For example
"I was wondering, why do you think that won't work" - here I was wondering is the softener.
3. Get your words in edgeways
Find ways to add your views opinions. Here's a couple of examples of how to do this, in the context of someone trying to move a conversation on that you wanted to contribute to
- "Just before we move on I'd like to say....."
- "I was just thinking about what, Mia said, I think..... "
- "I'd like to add my thoughts, ....."
NB - in these examples I do not use a closed question, as this could mean a more challenging person can close you down. For example "Can I just add?" may lead someone to someone saying, "No, we've no time" or a straight out "No!". So keep it open or simply make your point.
If you know you are entering a difficult scenario, write down what you'd like to say. Not necessarily scripting here, but key points you need to raise.
5. Practice (in advance).
Practice what you want to say out loud, either in front of a trusted friend or pet!
6. Use volume.
This is not about being louder here, although that is an obvious way of getting your voice heard. Quietly raising a point can have the effect of stopping people in their tracks, who then tune into to you to hear what you have to say.
7. Use pace.
Either slow things down, or speed things up, depending on the reaction of your audience. Not bullet speed or turtle pace here, simply emphasise key words.
8. Take your time.
Don't feel rushed into making your point. Take a deep breath to compose yourself, then state your point. What may feel like an age to you, in reality is only a couple of seconds pause to others. If this is done with
9. Make no apologies.
Your views and opinions are valid, so make no apologies for them. For example, saying something like,
"I'm really sorry do you mind if I add something?"
Your intention may be to be polite, however it can be perceived as apologetic and unconfident, to a less insightful person.
Instead say "I'd like to make an additional point...." or "Just before we move on, I think....."
These techniques will help you to speak more confidently in a range of scenarios, here's more communication hints and tips