Almost anyone who has worked anywhere can attest to the common occurrence during staff meetings where the same people do all the talking while everyone else sits there with little to no input.
Often the people with the least to say have the most value to add. Companies often lose out on the benefit that can be derived when they are privy to multiple perspectives. It is through differing opinions and points of view that innovation emerges.
There are various reasons people sit and say nothing, even when they have value to add. One common sentiment I have heard from clients who are less extroverted, is they do not want to be that person who runs on too long, does not know how to filter their input or maybe comes across as attention-starved. To ensure they do not come across in a way they loathe, they say nothing. Other professionals are self-conscious about their ability to communicate. They are silenced by the fear of not coming across in the way they want to be perceived.
If you find you tend to sit in silence, the following tips may help to inspire and empower you to speak up, let your voice be heard and position yourself as a leader in your organization.
Here are three simple strategies you can use to feel more empowered when you have something to say in that workplace meeting:
One: Try to connect what you say with something of value that has already been said. It shows you were listening; it helps to create connection by bridging your statement and increases audience engagement, especially the person you have just complimented. For example, “Like John said…”
Two: If you have a differing opinion, replace the word “but” with “and”. When sharing your perspective, avoid phrases like, “I understand what you said, but…” Try the word “and” to connect with the person you may not agree with. Replace that statement with “I understand what you said, and if we consider this…” This will help you to come across as cooperative instead of combative. Remember, if someone feels their view is being disregarded or threatened, they often shut down and focus only on defending their opinion.
Three: To help you stay on course and lead others, use a mind map. If you want to draw and hold the attention of your audience, let them know where you are going. One excellent way to do this is by beginning with something like, “There are three things that are really important to consider. The first is…” This will help people to lean in and listen for these three things you said you will mention. Plus, it helps you to stay on course.
If you are ready to rebrand yourself professionally for the new year, send me an email to get information on one-on-one coaching during the holiday season.
• Kim Welcome is the chief executive officer 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. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242-225-9013.