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  • Writer's pictureBex @ Delphi Coaching

How to Contribute Confidently in Meetings: The Delivery

In my last post I talked about giving yourself the best chance of speaking up in a meeting.


Now I want to talk about how to contribute confidently in meetings (we’ll come to “what” to say in a separate post).


Confidence can be thought of in two ways “social confidence” and “technical confidence”. I can’t help you with your “technical confidence” but I can help you with your social confidence.


Firstly, I want you to remember you are doing all these things for you. They’re to help you relax and feel more comfortable speaking so try not to worry too much about getting them right or wrong. If you want you can practice them in day to day conversations before taking a step out your comfort zone speaking out in a meeting where you’re not too sure if you belong.


Project your voice: In a meeting, I want you to focus on projecting your voice (not shouting!) but not whispering. It can feel very scary to feel heard, especially if you feel like you aren’t in the “in group” in a social interaction.


Secret tip: Some people intentionally speak very quietly in a meeting or one-to-one. If this person is senior, it’s often some form of “power play”. It’s harder to listen to someone who speaks quietly so you must make more of any effort. I don’t recommend this for people who are working towards feeling more comfortable speaking-up, but it is something to be aware of.


Remember to signal you’re going to speak: Before speaking you can clear your throat and lean in then as people in turn respond to you see if you can catch the eye of the previous meeting participant. Don’t worry about doing this too much – I just want you to have a go.


Focus on where you speak from: Focus on where you a speaking from your chest rather than the top of your throat. There are a bunch of reasons for this being valuable but for me the key one is it’s just way more comfortable and I feel more confident when I speak from here. It’s easier to feel like you have gravitas.


Your Body Language: Keep your shoulders back and chest out. Don’t hunch over even if you want to. People pick-up on this!


Connect while you speak: I want you to make eye-contact with one to three different people while you speak. This signals you want to engage the room. You want to be heard and that you believe you’re point (and you for that matter) are worth listening too.


More advance: If you need to slow down or pause while speaking see if you can do that after saying “and”. I know it sounds weird, but it is possible to do it naturally it just takes a bit of practice. I suggest doing this because it means people are less likely to jump in when you’re speaking.


More advanced: Speak slower than you want to and use some hand gestures but not lots. Fast movements and quick speech patterns signal discomfort and angst. While I totally understand you might be a little nervous - it's ok! Others might not recognise it and with practice it's possible to slow down your speech. If you want record yourself on a Zoom meeting to learn more about how you currently present yourself! There's all sorts of learning in it!


Keep Practicing: The above techniques will come more naturally the more you try them. Start small. Practice in conversations you feel comfortable in and practice in one to ones then build-up naturally.


If you can remember you’re doing this for you. Try practicing one of these techniques each week and start small. Recognise your efforts and stay consistent with practicing.

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