Have you ever been in a meeting where you want to say something, but there is too much going on or you’re just too nervous? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many people feel the same way. Shake it off and read this to prepare yourself to “speak up” at your next meeting!

  1. Do your homework and practice

Life will be easier for you if you prepare yourself for the meeting. You can ask for the meeting agenda in advance, or you can write down specific topics you would like to touch on during the meeting. And if you’re too shy and practicing will only help you remember what you want to say, but won’t help you speak up then try to stir up conversations in and out of the office. Stirring up a conversation on your opinion will help ease the mind when you want to bring it up during the meeting. Just remember, practice makes perfect!

  1. Sit near the center of the table and jump in the conversation

When sitting at the end of the table, you can be easily forgotten and left out of the conversation. Situating yourself at the center of the table enhances your presence and reinforces that you are central to the conversation. When you have an opinion or thought you would like to share, jump into the conversation, tactfully. Usually with a meeting, there is a good amount of people present. You don’t want to interrupt or cut someone off while they are speaking, but there is rarely a pause to get your word in. To redirect the conversation to you, you can say, “if I hear you correctly, you’re saying …” or “I like Amber’s thought and would like to add…” It will be considered less rude if you restate or agree to another person’s comment or thought.

  1. Speak with confidence

Although you may not feel confident, when you speak up you should project confidence. If you believe in yourself, your colleagues will believe in you too. Try to avoid using phrases or words that will minimize your thoughts or opinions. Some phrases could be, “I don’t really know about this, but…” or “I think…” You need to be straight forward with what you are saying, and leave the self-doubt for someone else. No matter what you say, if confidence is backing you up, it will be considered and not blown off. Never forget, you are there for a reason. Don’t worry about how others perceive you. Take that chance, speak or comment with confidence and you may be surprised with how it ends up!