Public Speaking – Getting support AT MEETINGS

This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes. 

Do you ever have problems speaking up in meetings at work? That’s what I want to chat about in today’s vlog.

Before we go into that let me first introduce myself. I’m Shola Kaye, I’m a public speaking coach and a professional speaker based in London. I’ve got clients around the world and I help individuals and organisations with their communication skills.

Years ago, I used to hate being in meetings and I would never ever speak up, to the extent where I was actually cautioned by my employer because they weren’t seeing the value that I was adding. I wasn’t really connecting, speaking up when client meetings were taking place. And so I understand first-hand how tough it can be for some people to speak up in a meeting type situation.

Public Speaking – some of us need time to think about what we want to say or find the right words

When I share that with people they typically say “you obviously enjoy standing in front of an audience and doing public speaking, and Shola you’ve been a professional entertainer for more than 10 years, you’re obviously used to standing up in front of an audience, what is there to be worried about in a meeting?”.

Quite a few people who are introverts, typically one of the traits of introverts is that it takes them a bit longer to think of what they need to say before they say it, whereas extroverts typically access the information quicker and they speak up immediately. For people for whom it takes a little bit longer to think of what to say, quite often they find that meetings are too fast-paced. For example, by the time they’ve formulated the thing they want to say the topic has moved on. It’s already checked, the subjects has been changed, it’s too late. Or it might be that they’re trying to get the words just right in their heads before they speak up. Again, it’s too late, the moment is gone.

There’s all sorts of things that can happen in meetings that hold us back or make us feel that that’s not the best place for us to share our ideas. In a conference just recently, a conference here in London at the Excel Centre Women in Tech, I ran a workshop. It was called introverts and extroverts: getting the best out of both in a tech workplace. It came up again around meetings and how to get the best out of yourself in meetings and have that visibility and be able to show that you know what you’re talking about even though you’re still formulating your ideas and you’re not quite ready to speak up.

Public Speaking – ask for help and get more involved in the conversations

I’m not going to go into all the strategies that you can try doing in meetings but one of them is that you can team up with somebody who’s very comfortable in that meeting environment (possibly an extrovert, maybe not) but you can team up with somebody and ask them before you go into the meeting for some support. Now, obviously you’re going to ask the right person, somebody who you feel comfortable enough sharing that information with.

Sharing that you need some support and somebody who you see as either a friend or at least an associate that you can trust. If you can do that before the meeting and say to somebody “sometimes I have struggled a bit with speaking up, I know on the agenda is xyz; so if this particular topic comes up and you see me hanging back perhaps you could just introduce the my argument or you could might say I was speaking to Shola the other day and she had quite a few things to say about that, Shola what do you think?

This just paves the way for you to get involved in that conversation in the meeting. That is a handy little tip that you can use to help to improve your visibility in meetings and then harness the energy and the power of the people in your team at work. All too often we feel like we’re alone, we feel like we’re on our own, we feel like we’re struggling by ourselves. Quite often the solution or a way to make things easier it’s just nearby but we don’t reach out for it or we don’t realise that we can use that solution to make life easier.

Public Speaking – understanding what holds you back will help you find new ways to communicate

I do get that obviously I’m a public speaking coach and a lot of public speaking is around standing up in front of audiences but speaking in meetings can be just as stressful, if not more so for some people. Let me give you another example, I had somebody on my list email me just recently. He had said that for him it’s not only speaking up but also sometimes when he hears ridiculous things that are said during meetings he wants to explode and just think “I’ll just say something” but of course he has to hold back. Meetings can be for some just as, I don’t want to use the word scary, but they can be just as challenging as standing up in front of a big audience in an auditorium.

I hope that little tip helps and if you are interested in finding out more about how to be better during meetings then a call to action for next year. I’ve got a book coming out which is called Speak Up On The Spot and it’s full of tips and techniques that you can use to speak up at short notice, like in meetings. So look out for that and I’ll of course be telling you more about it when we get closer.

In the meantime, go forth speak up and enlist people are ready to give you a bit of support. Take care, bye!


P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you improve your speaking or grow your business:

1 – Get my free guide – 27 places to find speaking opportunities.

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3 – Are you an ambitious coach, consultant or small business owner? If you’d like to wow your audiences and find more speaking opportunities, then watch the FREE on-demand training video here:

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