Being able to effectively present your ideas at meetings is important to your career success. This isn’t something that is typically taught in business school, yet it’s a skill that can earn you the professional attention you deserve from your work superiors and colleagues. If you find yourself struggling to get your message across at company meetings, here are five tips to help you more effectively contribute your ideas.
1. Include And Agree With Others As You Speak
As you’re ready to voice your views, first find something that you can agree with that was previously said. For example, you could start with, “Like John said, I agree that we should…In addition…,” then input your new idea at the end. This will make people feel that you’re not dismissing previous ideas, but adding value to them. This will make your audience more receptive to what you have to contribute.
2. Be Emotionally Involved In Your Opinion
Meetings are not the place for dramatics. But a good way to get people to get behind your ideas is to encourage them to be emotionally involved in them. You can do this by demonstrating with your tone and gestures that you’re excited by the potential of your ideas. There’s nothing wrong with a little emphasis in your words as long as it’s restrained in a business-like manner. Don’t be afraid to show that you’re emotionally vested in the idea.
3. Make Eye Contact
You may have notes relating to your ideas. It’s fine to reference those notes as you need to, but the majority of the time should be spent making eye contact with the audience. This ensures that others are looking at you and listening to what you have to say. If it’s too hard to make direct eye contact while keeping your train of thought, direct your gaze just over their heads; they won’t be able to tell the difference.
4. Don’t Hand Out Paper
Whenever possible, don’t hand out anything to supplement your “speech” at the meeting; at least until you’re finished speaking. The minute people have something to read, it diverts their attention away from you and what you’re saying. If necessary, hand out sheets when you’re finished so they can review the material at their leisure.
5. Use Open Body Language
While communicating your ideas, use open body language. Bring shoulders back and arms to the side; not crossed in front of you. Position yourself so you’re “open” to everyone at the table, not just the meeting head. This body language will naturally make others more open to your ideas.
These five tips will help you to get your points across in a manner that will elicit interest, respect, and understanding. Remember, your ideas deserve to be heard. These tips will help to make that happen.