The way you present yourself in company meetings can have a big impact on your career.
If you take the role of passive onlooker, for example, and never offer an opinion or comment, you may be giving off the impression that you’re not sure what’s going on — or that you just don’t care.
At the same time, if you speak up every chance you get, dominating everything to from the department budget meeting to the planning session for the holiday party, your colleagues may end up thinking that you’re overbearing — or that you just like to hear yourself talk.
Whether you’re the shy type who usually opts not to speak up — or you’re just the opposite — here are a five expert tips on making your point effectively in front of a crowd.
1. Practice: Like anything, practice makes perfect when it comes to speaking up — especially if you’re shy.
“One way shy people can gain confidence to speak in meetings is to practice outside of meetings,” says Susan Newman, co-founder ofSchool2Life, an organization that helps students transition to the workforce.
“Share your point of view and participate in conversations in and out of the workplace. Doing this helps you recognize where the discomfort sets in. In time, it will get easier or more manageable because you’ll know what to expect from your nerves. So speak up and speak often.”
One of the best ways to get practice outside of the workplace is to join your local chapter of ToastMasters, a group specifically designed for helping people to improve their public speaking skills. The organization currently has more than 12,500 chapters globally, so chances are there’s one in your area.