Does this sound familiar? There’s a meeting coming up and you can’t stop dreading the part where you’ll have to speak up. Do you feel nervous and think “how to overcome fear of speaking in meetings”
The thought of saying something irrelevant, embarrassing yourself, or the fear of judgement is slowly setting and you can feel negative thoughts creeping in.
Or when it’s your turn to speak in a meeting, your legs turn into jelly and your mind feels like it’s the end of the world.
If this sounds like you, be advised you have a fear of speaking in meetings, or what most people call—social anxiety.
Anxiety in meetings at work can be a problem for business leaders and people with important titles. You may even miss out on promotion opportunities because you didn’t speak up in meetings like your colleagues. Or you may have subconsciously avoided growth opportunities because of your fear of speaking in meetings.
The good thing is that it’s not going to hold you back forever as you can learn to overcome your fear of public speaking. You can become a confident speaker through our public speaking course and learn to present confidently in your workplace.
Let’s have a look at few tried and tested method by which you can overcome fear of speaking in meetings. Make sure you read them and implement them in order to boost your confidence of speaking in all your meetings.
An agenda is a good way to plan ahead to keep your meeting on track. It gives you a good idea of what to cover and the direction of the meeting. Also, letting participants know ahead of time can help avoid awkward pauses.
You can ask for the agenda of the meeting, or even put yourself on the agenda if you have a specific topic you’d like to talk about (which, of course, is also related to the discussion).
Write a list of thoughts in advance. Write an opening sentence or two, especially if you find it difficult to formulate these thoughts on demand.
Creating an agenda shows that you are in control. No one tries to steer the meeting in a different direction. Because they will follow your agenda to make the meeting go the way you want it to.
Don’t just create an agenda, make sure you’re well prepared. With just the right amount, you can feel confident and positive about your next meeting. However, if you prepare too much or too little, you will lose your guard or become anxious, so be careful.
Do enough research in advance and submit your agenda to other participants before the meeting. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable, professional, and at-ease.
Also, it’s a good idea to arrive at the meeting a little early so that you can meet others and mingle. This is a great icebreaker because it lifts the mood and you don’t have to rush.
If you dread attending meetings, set some achievable goals and check them every time. If you’re really nervous, start by keeping your goals low-key by challenging yourself to say something during the meeting. Then increase your target.
Specific, achievable goals give you something to aim for. And if your goals are modest (such as challenging yourself to say one thing during a meeting), you’ll quickly find that you’re hitting them.
It’s easy to sit in a meeting, not speak and stay calm all the time. You are not alone, but you are doing yourself a disservice by staying still. The longer you wait to communicate and talk about yourself, the harder it becomes.
Establish a simple strategy and plan to say something early in the meeting. Either to welcome attendees if you are leading the meeting, or to ask questions. It’s an easy and safe way to make sure you’re contributing in some way.
Don’t know how to do that? Sign for an eight week online public speaking course to learn how to overcome fear of speaking in meetings. We offer a bunch of helpful tips and tricks that have a proven record of success.
If you’re leading a meeting, it’s a good idea to add a visual element to your presentation. Talking is never easy when you know the whole room is focused on you. In fact, it can be quite intimidating to even imagine all those eyeballs on you.
However, visual aids can help you convey your message, take off some eyes from you and yet grab attention during a meeting. Although, make sure you don’t let visual aids overpower your presentation.
You don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to be heard during a meeting.
Even if you’re a person of few words and consider yourself an introvert, a simple comment can have a big impact. After someone comments, think in terms of “great idea” or “agree”. It’s the first step in showing your involvement and being more open in meetings.
Once you are comfortable with small comments you can gain the confidence to add more valuable inputs.
If you can’t shake off your fear of speaking in a meeting, it’s a good idea to do some breathing exercises like deep breathing to ease your nervousness. By simply engaging in guided meditation for a few minutes, you can see immediate change in your stress levels.
In our popular public speaking course, TedX speaker JeremiahO`Brian teaches how to stay calm during a meeting or presentation.
The more negative thoughts you have, the more nervous you will be in a meeting. But the more frankly positive you are, the more likely you are to excel when you speak up.
So, imagine yourself walking into a meeting with confidence, talking to people, exuding positive energy, showing confident body language, and finally getting good feedback on how the meeting went.
Merely visualizing being confident and successful will help you stop feeling anxious and overcome fear of public speaking.
Another good way to get over the fear of speaking in meetings is to attend events that cover this topic.
You’ll find plenty of thought leaders that have been in the same boat and share their experience with others. Mingle with the rest of the crowd and create a conversation so it becomes natural for you to communicate.
Virtual Public Speaking Training led by experts are also a great way to overcome your fear and be a great public speaker. Most courses cover speaking in front of a large audience and presenting with confidence, communicating in a hybrid-environment and more.
Also, there is an abundance of resources available online like helpful articles and guides to give you the right tips for becoming a better public speaker.
Obviously, you can not emerge as a public speaking professional overnight but if you put in effort, you’ll gain the courage to speak up.
If you’re thinking of enrolling in a public speaking course and training yourself to be a better presenter, we have just the right one for you.
Emerge Global’s online public speaking course is the best way to learn how to overcome your fear of speaking in meetings.
With our carefully curated curriculum and guidance from experts, you can quickly learn to deliver your message with confidence. Moreover, it’s just eight weeks long. So, if you have an important meeting coming up, this is the right time to enroll and seize the opportunity.
Speaking in meetings does not come easy to anyone. It’s so nerve wracking that it is one of the most common phobias among people worldwide. Yet it doesn’t take away from the fact that a lot is at stake in these meetings. You can not diminish the importance of attending and actively sharing your ideas during business meetings as it can change your career trajectory.
So, if you suffer from the social anxiety that inhibits you from speaking in meetings, sign up for Emerge Global’s Online Public Speaking Course and learn the ways of professional public speakers. This 8-week course will help you identify the cause of your fear, strengthen your personality, and play to your strengths during business meetings.
We hope this article would have helped you in understanding “How to overcome fear of speaking in meetings” and make sure you try all these methods & see how it works for you and how it impacts your meetings on daily basis.
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.