12 Oct Conquer Your Self-Doubt in Meetings
It is so easy to second-guess yourself—holding back your opinions, comparing yourself to others, and making too much of other people’s reactions. It holds you back and deprives everyone who would have benefited from your ideas. Imagine this scenario: You just got a promotion. You feel out of place sitting in a room full of people she admires. Even though your manager has confidence in you, you still struggle with self-doubt and fear of failure. Even though you have the education and experience to show that you belong in that boardroom, your mind keeps conjuring up possible disasters that might come your way. Maybe your doubts and fears compounded if you – for example – just last week when suggested something and no one seemed interested, which creates a seemingly appropriate response to keep your thoughts to yourself at meetings. It’s a common fear that our ideas just aren’t good enough.
Many successful people are adept at hiding their inner fears and doubts. They are overly critical of themselves and unfavorably compare themselves with others. Anyone can be a victim of self-doubt. Here are some proven strategies to enable you to participate in meetings without self-doubt.
Kindly announce yourself
During an animated discussion, anyone can go unnoticed. You may have a soft voice or a tendency to speak fast, which makes you even easier to ignore. Draw attention to yourself first by announcing that you are about to contribute to the discussion. You may say something like, ‘I have a different point of view.’ It will draw attention to you. Now you can say what you have to say without being interrupted.
Label your idea
Can you name it? It may be that your body language and how rarely and briefly you speak serve as indications that you want to take up as little space as possible. Have you made a habit of reviewing your notes for patterns and themes to help you name your ideas? Whether you share that name with the rest of the team or keep it to yourself, giving a thought a name helps you define it and make it firm in your mind. It helps if you use some humor.
Once you have a name for your idea, you can now express your thought coherently. Answer questions like: Why is it important? What should we do now? The more clearly you can explain something, the more deeply rooted it is in your consciousness, and reviewing this explanation to yourself beforehand will help you gain confidence.
Listen to feedback
Self-doubt can make you too quick to capitulate when you think that colleagues disagree with you. It’s common to take any criticism as proof of your inadequacy. You can preempt this by asking open-ended questions like ‘How do you feel about this?’ Open-ended questions invite others to consider what you have said at a deeper level. And they enable you to take control of the situation.
Apply these strategies to find your voice. You will find it easier to speak up, share your ideas, and do so effectively… This will subsequently lead to joyfully expressing your creativity.