As a public speaking expert, I've noticed that many people have trouble feeling prepared and confident when speaking in meetings. Whether it's presenting ideas, sharing updates, or contributing to discussions, the fear of public speaking can hold you back from making a positive impact. In this blog post, I'll share five actionable techniques that you can use to overcome these challenges and become a more effective communicator in meetings.

Practice active listening: Before focusing on what you want to say, make sure you're fully engaged in the meeting by practising active listening. Pay attention to what others are saying, take notes, and ask clarifying questions. By being an active listener, you'll better understand the context of the discussion and be able to contribute more effectively when it's your turn to speak.

Prepare talking points: Prior to the meeting, take some time to prepare a few key talking points. Jot down the main ideas you want to convey and any supporting details or examples. Having a clear structure in mind will help you feel more organized and confident when speaking. However, avoid scripting your entire response, as this can make you sound rehearsed and less authentic. And when attending someone else's meeting, make sure they send an agenda in advance!

Use body language to your advantage: Non-verbal communication plays a significant role in how your message is perceived. Stand or sit up straight, maintain eye contact with your audience, and use gestures to emphasize key points. Smiling and maintaining an open posture can also help you appear more approachable and confident. Remember, your body language should be natural and aligned with your message.

Embrace the power of pauses: Many people rush through their speaking points, fearing that pauses will make them appear unprepared. However, strategic pauses can actually enhance your message and give your audience time to process your ideas. Don't be afraid to take a moment to gather your thoughts or let a key point sink in before moving on. Pauses can also help you appear more confident and in control.

Practice self-care and positive self-talk: Finally, don't underestimate the power of self-care and positive self-talk. Before the meeting, take a few deep breaths, stretch, or maybe even engage in a brief meditation to calm your nerves. Remind yourself of your expertise and the value you bring to the discussion. Replace negative self-talk (e.g., "I'm going to mess this up") with positive affirmations (e.g., "I am prepared and have valuable insights to share").

By implementing these five techniques, you'll be well on your way to becoming a more confident and prepared speaker in meetings. Remember, improving your public speaking skills takes practice, so be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress along the way. With time and effort, you'll be able to make a lasting impact in your meetings and beyond.

Want to dive into these techniques in more detail with me? Go to my services page to see how I can help you present like a pro!