Speak Up at Meetings | TJ Walker | Skillshare
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11 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Learn the Art of Speaking Up at Meetings

      4:16
    • 2. Lead with Questions

      2:17
    • 3. Build Confidence Through Notes

      2:31
    • 4. Make the Right Risk Assessment

      2:11
    • 5. Be Conversational

      2:45
    • 6. Build Your Confidence

      6:09
    • 7. 1st Video Rehearsal

      4:32
    • 8. 2nd Video Rehearsal

      1:05
    • 9. 3rd Rehearsal

      6:04
    • 10. Course Conclusion

      1:51
    • 11. Give and Get Feedback

      1:18

About This Class

Imagine that you can speak up at anytime in meetings and everyone in the room understands your messages and is impressed by your confidence and authority. Wouldn't it be great to feel you can speak up at anytime and voice your opinions with clarity and ease?

After taking this course, if you apply yourself, you will be able to:

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  • Speak up at meetings
  • Hide nervousness when speaking up at meetings
  • Prepare in advance to speak up at meetings
  • Make sure people can hear and understand you

This course is delivered primarily through spoken lecture. Because the skill you are learning is speaking related, it only makes sense that you learn through speaking.

The skill you will learn in this class is not primarily theoretical or academic. It is a skill that requires physical habits. That is why you will be asked to take part in numerous exercises where you record yourself speaking on video, and then watching yourself. Learning presentation skills is like learning how to ride a bicycle. You simply have to do it numerous times and work past the wobbling and falling off parts until you get it right.

Transcripts

1. Learn the Art of Speaking Up at Meetings: If you're reluctant to speak up to the business meetings, guess what it just means. You're normal, after all, speaking up in a business meeting bosses. They're other people there, people looking at you. It's a type of public speaking. All the polls show that public speaking is the number one fear most people have. Now, let's some caveats here. People don't fear it more than jumping out of a plane with it without a parachute. If you gave them a choice, give a toast or jump out of this plane. But public speaking is something that does make people on, and it is something they do have to face on, if not daily at least basis. Jumping out of airplanes without parachutes isn't something most of us have to face. Why is it that we fear public speaking well? Evolutionary biologists believe that human beings, as animals, are programmed to fear public speaking because it's a way of being separated from the pack , separated from the herd. That means you're vulnerable to attack, so there are reasons for fearing being separated from everyone else in the audience. But that doesn't mean you have to let that fear cripple you and potentially hold back your career because that's the real problem. Managers, when they're in meetings, are often whether they realize it or not, making judgments about all employees. All the people present as far as their intelligence, their leadership capability, their short term potential in their long term potential. And if other people are putting forth good ideas asking insightful questions, giving comments, that air, furthering the discussion and you're just sitting there, it minimizes your impact. You're simply not making an impression on people who could have a definitive impact on your career. And that's why it's important to learn how to speak up a business meeting. You don't have to grandstand and give a big speech and hold all the limelight every time. But if there's an insight in your brain that you think others might want to know a question , you have that others might have. You need to have confidence in knowing you can express it right away. Don't hold it back. There's nothing worse, then, having a meeting, having a great idea, thinking, um, let me just kind of wait. Hold up. I'll talk to the boss after the meeting. I really want to sit, and then someone at the end of the meeting brings up your idea. And that person gets all the credit that person has seems a leader you're seeing as a follower, someone who should be see behind the scenes. That's not good. Now it's up to you to decide where you want to end your career and what position you want. You don't need me for that. But what I am here to dio is to give you the tools you need, the skills you need so that you can speak up in meetings any time you want. It doesn't mean you have to quit your job and become the next Anthony Robbins on a motivational speaking to her, it just means that you can speak up any time you want. Without this sort of nagging fear may be too strong of a word, but anxiety that keeps you from speaking up. I wanna help you get over that so that you know how you sound your best look, your best come across comfortable and confident, and people can simply understand you. And you don't have to worry about whom I gonna sound stupid or is this weird or It's not my place. None of that stuff. And I don't care how shy you were as a kid. I was incredibly shy, never said anything and I make my career. I make my living speaking now so it doesn't matter about so called natural ability. Nobody's in natural born speaker. If you haven't, I be on your head and you've ever had a conversation with one person. Once in your entire life, you already have all the skills you need to speak up. But any meeting at any time, it doesn't matter if it's a meeting with two people 200 or 2000. 2. Lead with Questions: So let's take a little deeper. What is keeping us from speaking out at meetings? What makes it different from just talking to one colleague in the hallway? Someone we know and trust, and we can have a free flowing conversation? Part of it is just this feeling of different eyes looking at us. Sometimes it's the fact that it's a boss or boss's boss. Sometimes it's the stature of the people in the room. It's a whole bunch of reasons, and at some point we have to just get over it and just talk. I want to start off with the easiest way of talking in a meeting, and that is to simply ask a question. It doesn't have to be a brilliant question. It just has to be a question that relates to something that's being talked about. Her will be talked about, But don't put pressure on yourself. You are not trying to be Charlie Rose or Oprah Winfrey or Barbara Walter with your questions. Just ask a simple question. Here's what I'm after. If they're saying more than 10 people or for you, it might even be five people. But there's some fresh, whole off people in a room that makes you uncomfortable. You feel pressure. You feel adrenaline pulsating through your body with the idea of speaking in front of people. I want to get you used to doing that so that the adrenaline doesn't pump and you don't have this fight or flight mentality going on in fighting in your body to get out of there. I want you to be able to become now. It's perfectly normal to be nervous to be uncomfortable when you're about to speak in front of people, even if it's to ask a simple question. But it is pretty simple to ask a question, and it gets you in the habit of simply talking, projecting your voice to be heard in front of five or 10 or 15 or 20 people. So let's start off with. I don't mean this to sound condescending, but let's start off with some baby steps. I want you to think of three or four questions you could ask at the very next meeting. You have to attend, whether it is for your business, your trade association, your civic organization, right those questions down now 3. Build Confidence Through Notes: so speaking up in a meeting is different from giving a speech, giving a prepared presentation, giving it power point. If it looks like you're just raising your hand, ask a question. All of a sudden you pull out a big, long script and you start reading your power points like that's going to seem on. The good news is you don't have to do that. There's not that much pressure. When you're speaking up in a meeting, all you really need to do is introduce one idea. Now it could be in the form of a question or a statement, but you don't have to have a full script. You don't have to have a power point. You don't have to have a whole show in town. But that doesn't mean you can't have some way of preparing what I would recommend in any meeting. It's good etiquette anyway, and it's good to just help with the memory process. Make notes when you're in a meeting, when you hear other people's being when you hear a boss, a colleague Ah, client speaking, take notes on what they're saying, it helps your memory process. But then, if you have questions or disagreements or added insights, Write notes, and they should just be two or three words at a time. Get if you want to raise your hand or you just shout out something to say in a meeting. It shouldn't be staring at a big, long list of notes page after page. But if you wanna have a single sheet now, this is tight. But you should just write it out in your hands. If you want to have a single sheet where you're just glancing down occasionally to frame your thoughts, that's fine. There's nothing wrong with glancing, it notes. I just wouldn't read whole sentences. I wouldn't read whole paragraphs, but to take a few notes to give you a sense of some structure if you're going to say more than 10 seconds worth is perfectly fun. So get in the habit in any meeting, especially one where you think it might help you to speak out, take notes. And that way you can actually have a little outline for what you want to say in front of the group, and I mean a little outline. A tight focused outlined not whole sentences. So think about a subject that you might be asked to add to in a meeting that where you might have some insights or questions and try to come up with a little outline right now that you can use for practice, we're gonna do in a few minutes. 4. Make the Right Risk Assessment: you may have heard the old expression. There's no such thing as a dumb question or a bad question. Technically speaking, that's not true. It is possible to ask a stupid question. People laugh at you and think you're stupid. So I'm not going to tell you that there's zero risk and asking questions or speaking up in a meeting. But you have to weigh that against the other possible negative outcomes from you not saying anything now. It's been my experience that people actually listening to someone asked a question. Think Oh my gosh, that's so stupid. This person is an idiot That's relatively rare. And yet when managers and others are sizing up a group, a team, a bunch of executives and figuring out who's an executive who really has leadership potential, who's going to rise further and further? Who's going to be the CEO? People are doing that consciously and unconsciously, and every meeting based in part on who's speaking and who isn't, and those who never speak out run a very high risk of being perceived as someone not really cut out for leadership potential, someone who should sort of stay where they are, folks, that's a really risk. So when you're weighing risk, you can't simply doing an unfair way and focus exclusively on the risk of saying something stupid. You have to really look at the risk of being seen quiet on interesting, unintelligent nothing toe ad. No real insights. No intellectual leadership, those air, all very riel risk you face every single time. You don't speak up in a meeting to either add your insights, give some additional thoughts or to ask insightful questions. So please, let's have an honest risk assessment. In my view, the risk of asking a question that people think it's stupid is relatively low. The risk of staying silent is quite high. 5. Be Conversational: when you are speaking up in a meeting, it is absolutely critical that you appear to just be speaking. If you seem like you've memorized something and you're kind of following ah script and you're not really focusing on people, it's not gonna seem like you're totally there. It's not going to seem like you're incredibly confident. It may seem a little artificial state now. I'm not talking about when you've been asked to give a 10 minute presentation. It's fine to be prepared for that to have notes, but to simply ask a question or to weigh in on a particular issue of the day that's being discussed in your group, you need to sound conversational. You need to sound like you're thinking and talking at the same time. Now it's okay to have thought about the ideas that you want to convey in this meeting, whether it's dissenting opinion on a new product release. But it shouldn't sound memorized. It shouldn't sound canned. You need to sound like you're just thinking and talking the same as if you bumped into a colleague in the hall, someone you've known and worked with for a long time, and you're having a casual conversation. That's how you need to sound when you're talking in a meeting. Now this could be a major trade association meeting, and there's 2000 people in the room and you have to stand up for the microphone. It's still going to come across better when you have a completely conversational toe. So that means don't try to memorize now. The problem, of course, is it's easy for me to say this, but if you're already nervous about public speaking, you're already nervous about speaking about meetings. The natural inclination is to try to give yourself a crutch to give yourself cover. And that can mean trying to give yourself a whole script that you're reading and hand holding up or that you've memorized. I'm warning you, don't do it. It doesn't matter if you stumble over a word. Occasionally, I've stumbled over words in nearly every lecture in this course, but I don't obsess over it. I don't apologize. I don't look like I'm ashamed or guilty, and chances are you don't even notice it. It's not important that your sentence structure is perfect, that your grammar is even perfect when you're speaking, people's ears don't catch mistakes the way their eyes dio. What is important is that people perceive you is just talking, thinking and talking and displaying a confidence in your ideas. That's what I want you to think about, and confidence is where we're going next. 6. Build Your Confidence: when you're speaking in a meeting, you are speaking to a crowd now the crowd, maybe only two people, but to you. If it's not one person, it's a crowd of sorts, and it might make you uncomfortable. Well, when you have a crowd, there is a crowd mentality. So part of what's going on is people are looking around to see how other people feel about you, whether they're aware of it or not. And they're making judgments with a lot of different data. One of the things they're judging is how you appear to feel about yourself. If you're kind of awkward and timid and you end sentences with question marks, even though you're making a statement that's gonna spend a message that you're scared, you're timid. You're uncertain of your ideas. Since you doubt of the value of your ideas. Maybe they're not very good. Therefore, why should the audience give your ideas credibility? So I'm not suggesting you have to somehow be phony and you know dual this and put forth bluster. But you do need to exude confidence when you speak confidence in your style. Don't try to be me. Don't try to be Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton or Oprah Winfrey. Although those three spoke with great confidence and and still dio those were alive, It's gonna be your own style. But when I say confidence, all I really mean is you're volumes loud enough to be hurt because nervous people kind of whisper cause they're afraid if they say something stupid, Helen will hear it and it won't hurt as much. They won't look stupid. So part of it is you've have to speak loud enough for people to hear you. And if you're in a room with 20 people, you're not gonna have to yell. But you are going to have to project a little louder than if you're talking to one person right here. Another did. A dead giveaway of lacking confidence is Russia. Please, Me too quickly. You speak too quickly. People feel like, Oh, I want to read and sit down. Don't speak too quickly. Don't rush and all Now, if you make a mistake, everybody makes mistakes. Don't beat yourself up. Over. Don't go. Oh, 30 seconds ago I made a mistake. I miss pronounced dead. I didn't tell anyone. I didn't stop and say, Oh my gosh, I made a mistake. I just kept going ever corrected myself. The correct word kept going, didn't winds, didn't look to embarrass, didn't do anything awkward, and it becomes less noticeable. People won't remember your mistakes by and large, unless it's just a colossal error. You say 1,000,000 it's really 1,000,000,000 everyone knows the numbers of billions. But for the most part, people don't notice your mistakes in what you say. They noticed your reactions to yourself. So if you seem embarrassed or flustered or uncomfortable, if you seem like you think, Oh gosh, I'm really sounding stupid up here The audience plays off on that. They figure well, if he thinks he's sounding stupid and awkward, it seems like a smart guy. If he thinks he's stupid and awkward, he must be stupid and awkward. I therefore have a negative impression of this person now. I'm not suggesting that every single person in your meeting is consciously thinking like that. I'm suggesting a lot of it is unconscious. Ah, lot of is it is in the gut, so you have to be aware of that now was you start this whole process as you go from, not speaking out at meetings to speaking. Yet it's only natural not to be incredibly confident. So I'm gonna teach you in a moment or so in the next lecture how to appear to be confident so that we can at least trick he's hall audience members that we're not trying to a condom out of their money or anything. We just want them to focus on what you're saying in the meeting, and not on the fact that you seem nervous or scared and, you know, doing things like this holding a pan fiddling with it is a sure sign of nervousness. Keep your hands free. We want to appear to become relaxed and having a good time when we're speaking out at this meeting. So I need you to really give is much thought to that and that more thought to that than what you're actually saying. No, I'm not saying that all that matters is how you look. That's not it, but they're both supremely important. So you've got to learn how to look comfortable, confident, relaxed. Any time you're speaking at a meeting, whether you're sitting down at a table with five people or standing up in front of 500. People need toe look and sound relaxed. Otherwise, people are going to be worried about you focused on you. Oh my gosh, it's DJ's voice cracking. He seemed so nervous. You don't want people focused on your confidence level. You want people focused on your ideas. Now here's the good news. The more you do this, the easier it gets, the more confident you get. Ah, lot of things in life are not like that. I could go out and play golf every week. For years. I'm still awful. I'm still shooting 180 that's cheating. I still can't hit. Would there are plenty of things in life? Were simply doing it more doesn't make you any better. Speaking out of meetings is different. It is one of those things where the more you do it, the easier it gets, the harder it is to be nervous, easier it is to be comfortable and therefore to do well. So confidence is key to get me saying that doesn't help yet, but I'm gonna give you exercises in a moment that will help 7. 1st Video Rehearsal: Okay. Now we come to the most important part of this course. It's put up or shut up time. So far, you haven't had to do much. I haven't asked too much. Sit back. Listen to some guy talking to video. That's not very hard. Now, I'm gonna ask you to do something that isn't actually hard, but it's not something people like to do. And here it is. I need you to stand or sit and just say something relevant to what you might say in the next meeting you have to attend to. Here is the key. I need you to pull out your cell phone and record yourself on video or use a webcam. No, no, I didn't say just talking out loud. No, I didn't say talk to the mirror. And now I didn't say Just use the audio recording on your phone. I need you to video. Record yourself speaking. If you're not willing to do this, this course is a complete waste of time. Please ask for your money back. I'll give you a full refund. It's just not gonna help you listening to lectures from May. The only thing that's gonna help is what we're about to dio. And that is I need you to either stand up or sit down, talk for just a minute or so on something related to your area of expertise. For the next Monday morning staff meeting you're attending or quarterly meeting in front of the board of directors. Whatever is the meeting for you, I want you to prepare something to say. I don't mean a big written script, something that you could just talk about in reaction to perhaps a report someone else gave . I need you to speak it out. I need you to record it. Preferably you can have someone else hold it or use a webcam. But if nothing else, do it just with your own hand holding your iPhone of using an iPad or some tablet, you can just rest on something and be pointing in your direction. Don't waste time trying to find the perfect camera. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that in a moment when you're playing it back, you can see yourself and you can hear yourself. It could be fuzzy. You can be grainy. It could be. Just have to see you. You've got to be able to watch yourself and hear yourself. So I need you to do that right now. And as soon as you're done, I need you to watch it. Simply doing in recording and not watching it is a waste of time. Now I know some of yours and TJ, I hate my own voice. I want to listen to. It's awful, You know? I'm not photogenic, Believe me. I've heard it all before. Tough everybody dislikes something about how they look and sound. Most people don't like their voice. I can look at a video and say, My gosh, my hair looks so much better when I was 20 years old. Guess what? Nobody else cares. It's not important that you look perfect. What is important is that you look comfortable. You look relaxed. You look confident that people can hear you, that people can understand you. That's what's important. So I need you to watch yourself and then grade yourself. I want to know what exactly do you like about how you're presenting every aspect of style and substance? So if the speed of your voice is okay, write that down. If you're volume is good, write that down if your hands were moving naturally. Which is a good thing, right that you're not fidgeting. You're playing with your Write that down. No. Yet there things you don't like. Write it down. I want you to be a harsh critic of yourself, but I want you to be a fair critic and a fair critic points out not just the weaknesses but also the strength. So write down what you like. Write down what you don't like every aspect of style and substance. So if you think you're speaking too quickly or too softly, or that what you're saying is just stupid, it doesn't make any sense. Whatever it is, I want you to write down all the criticisms to so very important. Please do this now. Video record yourself speaking and grade yourself and the more specific you are, the better 8. 2nd Video Rehearsal: So how did you dio? Ideally, you have some things you like in one list. Some things you don't like. Here's what I need you to do. Now I need you to focus on just one thing you don't like Not everything. And we've got to do it again. I need you to stand up or sit down. Speak records yourself. Try to very consciously do more of the things that you did like in the 1st 1 So if you're speaking, speed was good. Volume was good. Let's continue doing that. But if they were 10 or even 20 things you didn't like in that first presentation you recorded, let's focus on one and just one thing you didn't like and let's try to reduce it or get rid of it. You try to focus on correcting 20 things. You're just gonna get scattered and overall could be worse than the previous one. Let's focus on reducing one flaw in the presentation you just gave. So do it again. Recorded again on video, watch it again and critique it again 9. 3rd Rehearsal: How did you dio? Did you see improvement? Not in everything, but in that one area you are focused on. If you did what I asked, and you try to improve on just one area and you pick something realistic, chances are you succeeded if you didn't succeed. Typically that means one of two problems. Either you try to fix five problems, or you tried to fix something that either isn't a real problem or isn't a problem people can solve. So if you have a strong, strong Southern accent and you're trying in one take to sound like you're from the Midwest from Montana, that's not something we're going to change here in this exercise. And as long as people can understand you, you don't need to change your accent. If you're looking at the video and you think why I look fat, I've got the double chin. I want to change it Well, that's not something we can change here to. Let's focus on what's actually realistic. To change things like if you were stiff and frozen, just moving a little is easy. Anyone can do it if you're speaking too softly. Simply speaking, louder is an easy fix. So that's what I want you to focus on. So one more exercise and it might be simple. In brief. It might take quite a while. It doesn't really matter. If you want to solve this problem, it's gonna be worth doing it and doing it right. I need you to practice again on video. I need you to review yourself speaking, get it's. This isn't a whole big speeches, not a power point. It's just you standing up or sitting that that's how you're gonna be in meetings, talking for a minute or so, giving some insight to the topics of the day that are going to go on in your meeting. I need you to tape it again. I need you to look at the likes and the dislikes, and this is your third take now. So if you completely love how it looks and sounds, guess what? You're in good shape. But if you still don't like how you look and sound, if you still think that you look nervous or uncomfortable or speak too quickly or too softly or are fidgety, or going back and forth on one foot to the other and you look like you have to go to the bathroom. Well, guess what? You're not ready to stand up and present at this meeting or two? Talk at meetings. You've got to practice now when you're not in front of other people. So I want you to practice skin on video, critique it and keep doing that until you can look at that video. And again, it could just be on the little screen on your cell phone. It could be on your computer, but the whole point of this exercise is you have got to practice speaking to the point where you like what you see. So it's not TJ's test. It's not the test of some teacher or some professor at a communication school in a university. It's your test. I need you to be able to give yourself not just a passing grade, but in a great I need you to like how you're coming across, how you look, how you sound. That is the test, because here's the thing. So much of what holds us back from speaking at meetings is insecurity doubt. Gosh, I wonder if I sound stupid. I wonder if people are gonna think I look nervous. The reason we have doubts is we don't really know how we're coming across. We might look nervous. We might sound stupid or scared. Well, you don't have to wonder anymore because you have the video. If you're doing what I ask and if you actually see yourself on video talking the way you want to talk talking the way you think you're at your best guess what? It actually becomes difficult to be nervous when you're standing up speaking in front of people were sitting down speaking in front of people because you've eliminated all this doubt about how you're doing this mystery of how you do you know how you're coming across. And this works for any type of speaking situation the so called formal speech in front of 1000 people or just talking one on one with someone. If you know how you sound and you know this is his goods, I can dio and I like the way it's coming across. It fills you with a sense of confidence, not arrogance, but simply confidence. And it becomes extraordinarily difficult to be nervous. That's why I am the way I am right now. Now so you might not like my style. Nothing I could do about that. But I can tell you this. I don't have any nervousness right now because I'm convinced this is the best I can come across when I'm speaking to you. Why do I feel that way? Because I have seen myself on video thousands of times and I just know this is as good as it gets for me. This is how I want to come across. This is how I believe I'm coming across my best. Therefore, I don't have any nervousness. That's where you have to be before you go into your next meeting to ask a question, deliver an insight, be able to talk off the top of your head. If a boss or colleague ask you a question. I need you to be supremely confident and it's so easy to do now. If you do this one step, simply video. Record yourself speaking. Watch it, critique it. Do that until you like what you see, it might be one more take. It might be 50 takes, but what does it matter if it means you'll have a lifetime of confidence? Speaking out in every meeting, you ever attend again 10. Course Conclusion: I want to thank you for joining me for this course on how to speak up in meetings. If you've ever had one interesting conversation with one person your whole life, you already have all the skills you need to speak up in any meeting, even if there are 2000 people in the room. So focus. Give it some thought. Really think about how you come across comfortable, confident, relaxed, the most important tip of all in this course practice speaking on video things you might say in the actually not to memorize, but to just get comfortable speaking with how you come across. And the final tip of all is try to speak out in every meeting not to say something stupid, not just to hear the sound of your own voice, but to add something of interest or to ask a question that perhaps other people are thinking but are too timid to ask. And this is one they have. You ever go to a major speech of someone famous or well known major convention? Quite often, there's microphones in the rose next to the seats, and only the 1st 10 people get to ask questions. Don't wait for that nerved to come up and get ready and psyched up. Because if you wait, then everyone will be in front of you. You won't have a chance to ask the question just before the speech even finishes. Go up there, be one of the 1st 1 or two or three people there. So you can ask a question. The more you ask questions and meetings, the more comfortable you'll get speaking up at any meeting. And the more you are going to impress people with your ideas and your leadership potential . So good luck with all your future meetings and speaking out anywhere you please in life, I'm T. J Walker. Thanks for being a part of this course. 11. Give and Get Feedback: If you really want a master, the skills were talking about today. If you truly want to be a world class communicator, then you're gonna have to get feedback. Ask your friends, family members, colleagues, other executives to rate how you're doing with every aspect of your presentation. I'm a big believer in this, and I don't just talk about it. I practice it, too, so I want your feedback. So what I would ask is, now that we're almost done with his course, take just a moment and go to the feedback portion of this course and write a review. No, I certainly hope you give me a five star review, but I want you to be honest, tell me what was valuable in this course and write it out and tell me where it can improve . Now I think I'm good. But one of the reasons I think I'm good is that I've always listened throughout my career to people who didn't like something about how I communicated, and I listened to it, and I tried to make adjustments to improve it. Tiny little improvements every time I speak. So I'm asking as a favor to me and for future students, so we can continue to make this course get better and better. Take just a moment to write a review in the official feedback section of this course.