When you’re in an online meeting, it’s easy to turn your camera off and not say anything.  But is that going to help your career?  Do you want people to notice you?  Do you want to be memorable?  Do you want to get on? 

 Pushing yourself to say something in your meetings is a great way to start,

Here are 10 tips for speaking up in a virtual meetings that will help you:

  1. Prepare yourself by looking at the agenda and possible discussion points in advance so you can think about thoughts and opinions you’d like to share
  2. Brainstorm questions that might come up, so you can prepare answers that might be relevant to you/your department. Be ready to jump in with a response.
  3. Think of some smart questions you could ask in case you find you have little else to add to the conversation.
  4. Amplify someone else’s idea with ‘I really liked what Sam said, could you expand on that Sam?’
  5. Give an alternative point of view, (don’t start with ‘this is probably a silly idea, but’). Your idea, however unusual, could just be the sideways step everyone was looking for. Senior people often love hearing these ideas.
  6. When you do speak, edge your bottom forward so your back is straight, and look straight down your camera lens rather than looking at your colleagues’ videos on screen. They’ll feel like you’re addressing them personally.
  7. If possible, practise what you’re going to say in advance so you can come in strong, rather than a weak ‘erm, what I was thinking was…’ or ‘sorry, but…’. You need to ‘own’ your opinion or insight.
  8. If you’re nervous, take some subtle deep breaths using your diaphragm rather than raising your shoulders – this will help calm your nerves. Knowing your opening sentence helps. From there, keep it succinct and use plain language, you’ll sound more professional and confident.
  9. It can be hard to jump in mid-conversation. Go for the gap. When there’s an appropriate slight pause in the conversation, use it.
  10. Be yourself, speak as if you’re talking to your best friend. We tend to like and trust authentic people, so don’t worry if it’s not word perfect.

It’s not what you know, or who you know, it’s who knows you. Try these tips to be more visible in your next meeting.  People aren’t psychic, they won’t know what you’re thinking unless you tell them.  There’s nothing worse than coming out of a meeting thinking ‘I wish I’d spoken up’.  Your opinion is valuable, that’s why you’ve been invited to attend.

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