A simple guide to share your ideas clearly, coherently and confidently
Does anxiety diminish your leadership presence at work? Are you one of those people who has great ideas, but no one hears about them because you keep them to yourself? Do you sit in the boardroom and talk yourself out of contributing because someone else ‘sort of’ said what you were thinking?
When you miss the opportunity to give your valuable input because you are self-conscious or too nervous to participate, you forgo the chance to position yourself as someone who is engaged and thinking. It is funny how, too often, the people who do most of the talking have little value to add. I have had too many clients tell me how they do not want to be ‘that person’ who takes up too much time rambling on, so they prefer to say nothing. However, never having anything to say can be just as bad as rattling on incoherently; one is invisible and the other is tuned out.
Here are four pointers to help you to pull your thoughts together quickly so that you can make your point clearly and succinctly, and keep your audience engaged.
One mistake made in meetings is running on with arduous specifics for a specialized area. It is better to offer your input at a high level; you can always add more details if you are asked. Too many details that are irrelevant to your audience is a great way to cause people to take a mental break while you are talking.
It is also important to tell your audience where you are taking them, so they can follow you easily. We all know what it is like for someone to take us around in circles and we just want to know, what is the point.
The people that make you sigh when they raise their hand are those who do not know how to quickly and clearly state their position. It sometimes seems like they are deciding as they go.
Here is a framework you can use to help everyone in the meeting follow you, while you keep your own thoughts on track.
Begin by stating your position, for example: “I suggest we discontinue accepting cash.”
Then choose between one to three reasons to support that idea.
Before you begin rattling off your ideas, let your audience know where you are taking them. “There are two major reasons for my suggestion.”
Now everyone will tune in for your two reasons; try not to go beyond three. If additional reasons surface and it is still relevant, you can always add later. “The first reason is to decrease our exposure to theft.” You can then support this with statistics or recurring incidents surrounding theft.
Then give your second reason: “The second reason is to increase efficiency for better customer service.” Once again support your statement.
Close by using a summary statement. “Because our objectives this year are to increase our revenue and improve our customer experience, we should seriously consider removing cash payments from our model.”
This simple guide can increase your confidence to help you speak up like the leader you are.
Send me an email if you would like information on my upcoming workshop, “STAR on the Corporate Stage to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking in the Workplace”.
• Kim Welcome is CEO of Influential Voice, a communication trainer and coach; she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. She invites your questions and comments: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info: www.influentialvoice.com.
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