How to Get the Confidence to Speak Up in a Meeting

1 Minute Read

Are you that person who doesn’t say anything in meetings?

Do you keep thinking “I should say it” but your confidence stops you?

Perhaps you finally said it, and then immediately someone asks you:

“Why” or “How” – now you’re really frozen!

If your mind goes blank when someone asks you a question after you said something in a meeting, if this is perhaps the very reason why you don’t usually speak up, you’re not alone!

The reason your mind goes blank is because your brain perceives this situation and their question as a threat.

Remember you were already stressed before you even added your contribution?...

When your brain perceives something as a threat, it goes into a fight, flight or freeze state – this means it either starts arguing (fight), it starts defending (flight) or … your mind goes blank (freeze).

When you make a contribution in a meeting, if someone will ask you a question, 95% of the time it will be a WHY, a HOW or WHAT question.

Here’s what you can do to if what stops you contributing in meetings is the worry of being asked a question and being unable to answer it.

Have a safety net made of 3 questions, once you have been able to answer these questions for yourself, then you give yourself permission to go ahead and speak up in the meeting.

During the meeting, just before you speak up - jot down a few words:

1. WHAT do I want to say?

2. WHY do I think this is the right thing to suggest? (Or another WHY question you can think of about WHAT you want to say.)

3. HOW would it work? (Or another HOW question you can think of about WHAT you want to say.)

Once you have answered these questions, you know that even if they ask you a question, in 95% of cases, you already thought about the answer.

If they ask you a question you haven’t considered and you freeze, just use the safety response : “Excellent point, I hadn’t thought of this. What do you think could be done about X?”

You will see, in time your brain will get used to speaking up in meetings and seeing it is not a threat, but an opportunity show your knowledge, ideas and expertise.

Talk to us about your challenge:

The Geek Whisperer

1 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge, CB2 8BB, United Kingdom