Fresno’s Krishen Iyer on optimizing your public speaking skills for meetings

Through optimizing your public speaking skills, you will find that captivating the attention of those around you requires less work than you think.

Fresno’s Krishen Iyer on optimizing your public speaking skills for meetings File photo

Most of us have heard the catchphrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Similarly, it is not necessarily about what you say. It is how you say it. That is where public speaking comes in handy.

Even when we know that we deserve our spot within our organization and receive positive feedback that confirms our performance, it is incredibly human to experience self-doubt in the workplace. Team meetings can amplify that self-doubt. If we feel inclined to speak up about a new idea or interesting new finding, but no one responds, the lack of excitement can feel like a personal attack on our contributions.

Feeling insecure during a meeting, especially when we do not receive the desired response from our peers, may inspire some not to speak up at the next meeting. As a result, internally ruminating over what others think of us can cause us to withhold our ideas. Fortunately, we can overcome the very human feeling of self-doubt by building our confidence. Through optimizing your public speaking skills, you will find that captivating the attention of those around you requires less work than you think.

Tip #1: Take the time to frame the concept of what you would like to share.

It is challenging for a single team member to hold the room’s attention when everyone in a meeting shares the same excitement over an area of interest. Sometimes, we feel excited while simultaneously doubting our authority to captivate the room’s attention. In those situations, we might find ourselves either speaking too quietly for our peers to hear us or too fast for our colleagues to take notes.

Instead, try announcing your contribution before going into the subject of your idea. These can be phrased in the form of a question, such as, “Can we briefly address the policy implications of these market trends?” or “What if the client prefers option X instead of option Y?”

Ultimately, giving your audience a clue about what you will cover immediately notifies the room that you have something to stay. By not revealing too much too soon, you are also sparking the audience’s curiosity about what you will say next. If you want to give your idea an extra boost, try giving your perspective a catchy name for your colleagues to grab onto if they forget a detail or two.

Tip #2: Go into detail about your perspective.

After you have framed and named the concept of what you would like to share, it is now time to go into the nitty-gritty of what you would like to say. But before you pull up pages upon pages of your research, consider giving your audience an outline of your proposal. Focus your audience’s perspective by placing a “frame” on where you want their attention to go. Being clear and concise with the details surrounding the heart of your perspective will ensure that your team understands what you are saying and why it matters.

Tip #3: Open up the floor to questions, comments, and concerns.

A great deal of the self-doubt we feel after meetings looms around the unknown. Because we have no idea what others are saying about our contribution, our brain immediately populates that uncertainty with the most negative possibilities imaginable. Alternatively, asking your team for feedback after sharing an idea breaks the fourth wall. In entertaining feedback, you empower yourself to receive both critique and praise in a forum that can confirm your team’s thoughts. That way, you can rest assured knowing that you did all that you could for others around you, to be honest with you about what they thought of your ideas.

If you are worried about not receiving feedback, even after welcoming a discussion, try brainstorming some questions to ask the group. Be specific with your questions, but make them open-minded, too. For example, you can ask, “how many of you also noticed this?” or “when was the last time you had this thought?” That way, anyone listening can contribute without having to brainstorm the “right” thing to say.

About Krishen Iyer

Krishen Iyer is a self-starter and entrepreneur who has owned and sold several companies throughout California. Iyer’s expertise comes from his nearly two-decade-long career in insurance distribution sales, where he helps generate traffic and brand recognition for insurance distribution centers. Today, Iyer runs MAIS Consulting Services, an Encinitas-based firm specializing in contracting and marketing solutions for health and dental insurance clients. Managed Benefits Services, a Fresno-based firm with the same clientele focus, preceded MAIS Consulting Services and remains under excellent ownership.

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