In this lesson, I'm teaching you strategies to help you be more confident in meetings. These could be meetings at work, in professionals, settings, or when working on a team project at school. So if you're ready, let's get started.
Part I: Communicate Effectively in Meetings (in English!)
So first, let's talk about the ways that you can improve your communication in meetings
(1) Say it As Simply As Possible.
Don't try to complicate matters. Don't feel like you need to use a lot of different advanced vocabulary and syntax. It's really about being as clear as possible, and oftentimes it's about saying something in the simplest way you possibly can. Simple is best. And that also shows clear thinking and clear logic.
(2) Loudly and Slowly
Next, speak loudly and slowly. This will help you speak more clearly as opposed to rushing to make a point or just trying to speed things up.
Being fast does not mean you're being fluent. So really think about that.
(3) Articulate Your Words
Be articulate. Imagine sounding out each word. That way you're not going to be tempted to rush into something.
(4) Think Before You Speak
Think before you speak. Don't be afraid to pause and be silent for a few seconds. That's absolutely fine. This will allow you to have some thinking time, which is much needed.
And honestly, we all need to take the time to think. So don't forget to pause a little bit. Think, put some points together, and then make your statement or then pose your question.
(5) Ask (Clarification) Questions
And speaking of questions, the next thing you can do is to ask questions to make sure everyone understands. So if you're running the meeting or you brought up a topic, you can ask something as simple as Are we on the same page?
Or you can say, “I'm happy to answer any questions. Who has the first question?” And that way you can invite people to ask something that might be on their mind. You can also say, “Have I made everything clear?” And in that case, you'll get a yes or no response, and hopefully you'll get the response of yes, everything is clear.
But if it's not, it's a good opportunity to then have people ask their questions. And maybe that way you can clarify something or go into greater detail about something. So that's a good question to ask.
Part II: Conquer Your Anxiety in Meetings
All right. Now, part two, let's talk about reducing the feeling of nervousness. Now, a lot of times when you're speaking in settings like group settings and in a meeting, let's say online or offline, it doesn't matter, we get those butterflies in our stomach.
We might feel a little bit nervous and that is completely natural. Well, I'm going to tell you how you can remedy that.
(1) Focus on Adding Value
So the first thing is to not to focus on yourself. Focus instead on value adding. And what I mean by that is what do you bring to the table? What value can you add in that moment, in what you're saying and the concepts that you're sharing and the advice that you're giving, whatever it might be.
How are you adding value to that meeting to these individuals' lives? OK, so that's what you should be thinking of, not, oh, is my accent coming out? Or Oh, is my grammar 100% perfect? Or, you know, do they think that I'm qualified for this job because I'm a second language learner of English, right? These are not the things that you should be focusing on or have even a consideration for when you are in a meeting.
Right? Because that's going to exacerbate those feelings of insecurity and nervousness. So we want to really be cognizant of our headspace and how we're thinking. And so one way to reduce that anxiety and keep those nerves at bay is to not focus on yourself but focusing on how to add value. How can you contribute to this meeting in a meaningful way? Thinking about what you bring to the table.
(2) Be Proud to Speak More than One Language
And if you're feeling self-conscious about your accent and like I like to remind you, it's not a big deal if you have an accent, that's actually something that you should be proud of because it shows that you know more than one language. You are not monolingual. You are bilingual, trailing equal.
Maybe you're a polyglot who speaks multiple languages. That's amazing. So first of all, think of that whenever you feel insecure about an accent.
(3) Your Goal Should Be Intelligibility
And secondly, I also like to say that it's not about having an accent. It's about being as intelligible as you can. If people can understand you, if you are being a clear communicator, then it doesn't matter if you have an accent.
And for context, there are plenty of people that are native English speakers who do not speak clearly, who are not effective communicators, even if they have no accent. Right. So don't think about it as having an accent or not having an accent. Think about it as am I being intelligible? Can people understand me? Am I communicating as clearly as possible?
(4) Find Three Successful Role Models (Who Are Second Language Learners of English)
But if you do at that moment feel self-conscious about having an accent, then I'd like you to find yourself three successful people who have accents and keep them in mind. OK, so that would be a little bit of research, some homework for you to do after you watch or listen to this lesson. And that way you can keep those people top of mind and refer to them any time you might be feeling a little bit of insecurity, which again, don't feel insecure about because the goal is intelligibility.
(5) Positive Visualization Techniques
All right. The next thing is to visualize a positive outcome. Breath work can come really in handy for this with the visualization of a positive outcome. And what you can do is inhale four, five counts. So we're inhaling for a count of five. So you can visualize that. And then as you're doing that, you're going to hold at the top of that for seven counts.
Right. So, again, count that out and then you're going to want to exhale for a count of seven as well. And if you can, you can extend that exhale to ten, let's say. But again, this is something that you can work your way up to. It's part of the breath work practice that you might want to implement in your own self-care routine.
Or any time you're feeling a little bit anxious or nervous or you feel like those butterflies are making their way in your stomach. That's an expression we have in English. When you have butterflies in your stomach, you feel a little nervous and on edge or anxious. So, for example, in a meeting you might have some butterflies in your stomach.
And again, that's completely natural. But the point here is that this breath work can help you keep that anxiety low.
(6) Strike a Power Pose
The other thing that you can do to feel more confident is strike a power pose. And that's something like this or, you know, arms crossed. But in an executive of presence kind of way, not in an insecure way.
Right. There's a difference there or leaning in. Right. Those are ways of striking a power pose. And the one I really like is this one, hands on your waist reminds me of like, you know, like a superhero or like Wonder Woman or something. And, you know, you feel really confident with that So just do that a few minutes before a meeting or even in the meeting.
No one's going to think of that as strange because this is you know, this is like a business pose hands on your waist. You mean business. And it just shows confidence and you feel confident as you do that. Try that out and think about how that makes you feel. It will definitely boost your confidence.
All right. So there we have it! These are a few ways that you can improve your communication skills and your nonverbal communication in meetings and also calming your nerves before and during the meeting that you find yourself in. And this goes for both in-person meetings or online meetings, like when you have your Zoom or your Google meet meeting. And there's no need to focus on all of these points at once because that might be a little bit overwhelming.
So instead, I'd like for you to choose one or two and work on those points and then get as comfortable as you can with those points that you've chosen to work on. And then once you feel really confident with them and they sort of come to you just naturally without having to think about it too much, you are ready to move on to the next area of improvement.
All right. Advanced English learners thank you so much for joining me for this lesson. I hope that you enjoyed it. And if you did, if you're watching this on YouTube, feel free to give it a big thumbs up. If you're listening to it on a podcast, feel free to leave up to five stars. That really helps us out and it allows us to make more videos and lessons like this.
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I will see you in the next Advanced English lesson, where we're going to continue advancing your English together. Until then, keep up the awesome work and I will see you soon.