Have you ever presented an idea in a meeting that was met with silence only to have someone a short time later present a nearly identical idea and receive an enthusiastic response? When that happens, people feel understandably frustrated or even marginalized. There are many reasons that this happens, but often it boils down to not confidently grabbing people’s attention and clearly articulating your idea.
In addition to building a solid reputation and strong credibility over time, there are 5 things you can do to grab attention and get your ideas heard.
1. Speak up.
People who speak with greater projection not only grab attention, but also sound more confident. If you are naturally soft-spoken, this will take a bit of effort. I find that it is helpful for some people to imagine speaking to someone at the farthest corner of the room. People who struggle with this often feel like they are yelling even though those around them say they are speaking in an average volume. It is especially important as you begin speaking to be loud enough to grab attention. If you can relate to this, ask for feedback as you continue to find your volume.
2. Use your body.
Your body is a valuable tool to help you grab and keep attention. Leaning forward signals that you have something to contribute and draws attention to you. Use purposeful gestures to hold attention and illustrate points. People who fidget look nervous, which can cause others to doubt ideas. Keep your hands on the table when you speak, and don’t play with pens, rings, paper or other distracting objects.
3. Make eye contact.
Making eye contact as you’re sharing an idea not only helps people stay engaged, it increases your confidence. Make sure to connect with everyone in the meeting. Don’t avoid intimidating people or focus exclusively on people with whom you feel most comfortable.
4. Speak clearly and concisely.
People can’t support an idea they don’t understand. Rambling and repeating yourself will only confuse people or cause them to lose interest. Either way, you lose. We have helped thousands of people learn how to clearly and concisely present their ideas. With practice, you can become very good at it.
5. Manage your pace.
People who speak slowly have a difficult time keeping others engaged. If you want people to listen, pick up the pace. Just be careful not to speak so quickly that people can’t keep up. It is also important to adapt your pace for your audience. If you are sharing an idea with a group of slower-paced, analytical people, slow your pace to give them a chance to consider the idea. On the other hand, if you have a group of high energy, fast-paced people in the meeting, you will lose them if you don’t speak quickly.
When you put all of these together, you are much more likely to confidently share your idea and keep listeners engaged. The days of your idea falling on deaf ears only to have it positively received when someone else shares it will be over.
Do you experience frustration in getting your ideas heard? How is it impacting you, your teams and your customers? If you’d like help in learning to confidently and clearly present your ideas and get them heard, contact Dr. Heather Johnson to discuss options that can be customized for you.