Most people would rather die than public speak!! Death is the #2 fear for most people….crazy right?
Successful people speak confidently and actively listen. The art of speaking with confidence in a meeting is crucial, especially for women. We are slowly evening out the numbers in the boardroom, however we also need to act as if we belong there.
To speak confidently in meetings we firstly need to understand the components of communication. 93% of communication is non-verbal. Meaning that body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%) make up the majority of our communication with only 7% verbal. So it goes to show that if only 7% is what we say, then we need to focus more on the 93% of how we say it.
Body language is a huge factor of effective communication and something we all need to be aware of. Consider these points when going into a meeting. Sit upright with confidence, make eye contact, smile or put on your best poker face if necessary, try not to fidget with your clothes, hair or face. Be aware of using your hands to gesture too much. I recommend placing your hands and wrists on the table or leaving them in your lap. Sit on them if you have a tendency to over gesture.
Once you look the part, you then need to sound the part. Ensure you project your voice so everyone can clearly hear you. Nerves can cause us to speak too fast and raise the tone or pitch of our voices. Breathe and speak clearly and purposefully.
Preparation is key to speaking confidently in meetings. Know your material thoroughly and try and play devil’s advocate with yourself, so you can prepare for potential push-back and questioning. Remember that you belong there otherwise you would never have been asked to attend. Be confident in your abilities, and know that your contribution is important and needs to be heard.