How to Speak Well in Meetings, Discussions, Debates
Although you’re speaking in public, the dynamic of a meeting, discussion or debate is different from a straightforward speech or presentation. For some, the inherent interactivity makes these occasions easier because it feels less like being in the constant glare of a spotlight. For others, it’s more challenging to have to express themselves more spontaneously and react within the cut and thrust than it is to deliver a carefully prepared presentation or speech. Sometimes, of course, the occasion requires both: you have an allocated slot in which to give a brief introduction, summary or report and then the action moves on, with others making contributions and the discussion opening up.
Whatever type of meeting you’re concerned about, I can help you put yourself across effectively.
How to Speak Well in Meetings
Meetings can be stressful occasions. At work, in clubs and societies, in committees and councils, meetings are happening all the time and many who attend them dread them. Waiting for your turn or the right moment to speak, frantically trying to gather your thoughts and express them succinctly while everyone is staring at you, wondering how much you should say, whether you’ve made your point clearly or whether you should have another swing at it, wondering what other people are thinking and whether they’re going to interrupt you… It may be just some people gathered together but it can feel like a minefield.
The solution to this problem is coaching. I can show you how to prepare for your meetings, both practically and psychologically, so you can speak clearly, concisely and confidently, in a way people will listen to and take seriously. We’ll also look at how best to handle conflict and to stand your ground as necessary.
How to Speak Well in a Debate or Discussion
If you’re taking part in a debate or panel discussion, whether in some sort of political or social arena or just for fun, it’s important to prepare and practise not only your opening and closing statements but also all the other arguments and responses you may want or need to use. I can help you think it all through, to make sure your case is strong and consistent, and I can coach you in how to deliver your contributions with clarity and conviction.
If you’re going to be participating in group discussion (GD) as part of an MBA course or an assessment centre, I can help you hone your techniques and enhance your delivery.
Whatever the context in which you’re going to be speaking, I can work with you to focus your thinking, build your confidence and get you delivering in a way that commands respect (even if not always agreement!).
What Does This Coaching Involve?
We’ll begin with some straight public speaking, so you can master effective delivery with a prepared piece, and we’ll look at how to compose and structure a talk that is going to be delivered as a speech or presentation, without interruption. These skills will stand you in excellent stead in and of themselves but you can also transfer them, with minimal adaptation, into the context of a meeting, debate or discussion. We can also role-play a situation where you are constantly interrupted, shouted down or ignored, so you can practise dealing with these challenges too.
Alongside the practical aspects, we’ll talk about the psychological side of this kind of interaction. Confidence and attitude are essential factors in speaking up successfully in meetings, discussions and debates.
Not to be forgotten in our quest for strong and confident speaking are listening skills – and the coaching will cover these too.
How to Arrange Your Coaching
Coronavirus update: During the national quarantine hiatus, coaching has moved online.
Details on the COVID-19 Special Arrangements page.