Monday, August 20, 2007

Speaking Confidently in a Meeting

I was in a meeting today where the leader asked everyone to give a few words of introduction. Even this simplest public speaking effort strikes fear into people, and you can see the fear in the way each person speaks. One person went from sitting up straight to hunched over, looking at notes, and spoke in muted tones.

When you speak in public, even in these simple situations, you need to project confidence. You don't have to be confident, but you do have to look confident. Most successful speakers will say they are no less anxious than anyone else; they just know how to fake it.

When you find yourself speaking in a meeting, set yourself apart with the following approaches:

  • Take 10 seconds to prepare a short outline so you don't ramble
  • Sit up straight and square your shoulders
  • Use you best radio announcer voice and project
  • Smile - It changes your tone
  • Use hand gestures to animate you speaking
  • Make eye contact with multiple people to engage the whole room

These simple approaches show you as a confident leader. They make a surprising difference in how people listen to you and how effective your message is.

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