If you’re an introvert, chances are you don’t always look forward to meetings and being in large group situations. We’ve spoken to a few introverts to find out how they best handle public speaking when it doesn’t come naturally. Here are five top tips:
1. Preparation is everything
Forewarned is forearmed. The more prepared you can be before the meeting takes place, the better. Ensure you get hold of an agenda in advance and if there isn’t one, instigate creating it. Once you have the agenda, use it to focus your thoughts, ideas and possible contributions. Do research if you need to.
2. Don’t be late
Get to the meeting early. Take time to chat with other attendees before the meeting starts and build up some rapport, which will help put yourself at ease. Get used to the meeting environment. Getting to the room early will also give you the opportunity to choose where you might feel most comfortable sitting.
3. Speak early
Try and make a point or two early in the meeting to establish your voice. Most introverts say that the longer the meeting goes on, the harder it can be to join in.
4. Write before you speak
If you get nervous before you speak, jot down what you want to say, before you say it. This not only gives you focus, but if you get flustered when eyes fall upon you, you can just look down and get yourself back on track.
5. Review and re-cap ideas
Often in meetings, many ideas are bartered around the room, and the meeting can lose its focus. Sometimes it’s the introverts who are the ones best positioned to see the bigger picture. Take it upon yourself to clarify the discussion when needed. For example, ‘So what we’re saying is…?’ or ‘So what we need to do is…’
Most of all, remember that you’re in the meeting because your view is valued and you have something to contribute. Don’t let the meeting pass by and think ‘I should have said that’ or walk away thinking ‘I didn’t show them who I really am.’