Friday, January 14, 2011


I thought this post in the blog by Rick Stevens ( was worth sharing.

"Even though you may not be delivering set-piece speeches or presentations on a regular basis, it's likely that you will be speaking in meetings more often. For some people, it can be quite daunting, especially if other attendees are more senior in the organisation. Even the "this is my name and this is what I do" introduction can make people nervous, causing them to give a poor impression right at the start. So here are a few tips to help you to be more confident in those small gatherings.

1) In small groups, being a good listener is as important as being a good speaker. Show interest in others' comments, both by your expression and body language. Never interrupt, but make notes if you wish to refer back to a point when it's your turn to speak.

2) Talk to everyone. Don't just address your comments to the meeting chair or the last person to speak. In a small group it's easy to make eye contact with everyone in turn as you make your remarks. Making everyone feel included will help to lighten the atmosphere.

3) Ask, don't tell. Encourage feedback from the rest of the group, and actively seek their participation. That's the point of a meeting, to ensure that everyone's views are heard. Otherwise, you could just send the information by email.

4) Keep your language simple, and try to avoid any business jargon (don't mention "out of the box thinking" or "rocket science"). For example, look at the editorial in any national newspaper. That always has a strong message, in simple language.

5) Be positive, and focus on things that need to be done, rather than things that went wrong. When referring to comments from others, find the positives to agree with. Summarise the points of agreement often.

Of course, there's always the other option - don't have meetings. But that's another debate."

No comments: