|Dear Meeting Guru,
"Whenever I attend meetings I get
so nervous that I can’t speak or concentrate. I spend the
entire meeting thinking about how nervous I am, instead of thinking
about what’s happening in the meeting. In the end I’ve
missed the point of the entire meeting. What can I do?"
Even the Meeting Guru sometimes gets nervous in meetings, but
there are tactics you can employ to rid yourself of the meeting jitters.
If you’re familiar with the information that will be covered, you won’t
be so afraid of someone asking you a question or asking for your opinion. This
may take some work on your part. Some meeting organizers may expect that you
already have all the information you need. Be proactive – ask if there
are documents you should read and look at the minutes from previous meetings
related to this topic.
Focus on what’s being discussed. If you concentrate on what other people
are saying, you’ll forget how nervous you are. You also won’t be
caught off guard when someone asks you a question. It’s very easy to let
your mind wander, especially when you’re nervous. To stay focused, look
directly at the person who is speaking, listen closely and analyze what they
If you push yourself and actively try to get over your fear, attending meetings
will become easier. As U.S. WWI aviator and airline businessman Eddie Rickenbacker
once said, “Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no
courage unless you're scared.”
In other words there is no shame in being afraid, only in not trying to conquer
For more tips on how to be assertive in the meeting room you can also read
Don’t Be a Meeting Room
Until next time
may good meeting karma always be with you.