The dreaded office meeting… For a young entrepreneur meetings can be daunting – especially when English is a second language. Meetings cause anxiety – sweaty palms meeting outstretched hands, public speaking, and the very real notion that you could misinterpret something someone says. New entrepreneurs, especially non-native English speakers, often find the idea of meetings to be intimidating, but successful businesses are built through teamwork and collaboration. Therefore, the business meeting is a necessary evil.
These tips are designed to help you get through all your meetings like a pro – with confidence, and the boldness needed to speak up.
Practice does make perfect. If you know a meeting is coming, get ready by having a dialog with a trusted friend or family member. Have that person pretend to be the other members of your meeting. This will help you better prepare your speeches, and be prepared for any random questions that could come up.
Practice can also include learning to speak up at parties, and other social engagements. Don’t be afraid to share your opinions in social settings, and you’ll be better prepared for sharing your ideas and opinions in meetings.
2. Don’t look at meetings like they’re a bad thing.
Mike Richardson, the author of “Wheelspin: The Agile Executive’s Manifesto – Accelerate Your Growth, Leverage Your Value, Beat Your Competition“, reminds us, “Don’t look at meetings as a bad thing, a time-consuming thing, a work-generating thing…They can be a good thing, a time-saving thing, a work-flow thing… Better meetings equal better conversation equals better agility.”
At the end of the day, your meeting is about making money and furthering your business. Meetings are a good thing, and when you change the way your brain considers meetings, you change your confidence level. If you allow yourself to see the positives, some of the anxiety you’re feeling will melt away.
3. Record your meetings.
It’s a smart thing to record a meeting, especially when English is your second language. You’ll have the option to replay the meeting again and again – until you’re certain you’ve grasped every idea, and understood every point of view. Furthermore, consider using a speech to text service to have the recording transcribed into a document, so you’ll be able to review meeting notes whenever you need to. These transcriptions can be shared with everyone in the meeting, ensuring nothing is forgotten.
“We used Speechtotextservice for group and interview transcripts, and the quality has been great. Turnaround speed is fast and the process to upload files is very simple,” says one businessman, who uses the service to transcribe recorded meetings, as well as other business needs.
4. Have your meetings in the afternoon.
Fox Business recommends having your meetings in the afternoon because people are more relaxed after lunch. The added benefit is that people are more productive in the morning, so you’ll get the best work from your employees. Then, in the afternoon when they (and you) are more relaxed, you can tackle some important work related issues in a meeting.
The drawback is that some people may be so anxiety prone that they spend the whole day anticipating the meeting. Heed the advice above and below to help yourself deal with some of that anticipation.
Finally, it’s important to breathe deeply from your stomach. By controlling your breathing, you give off more confidence, and you’ll have an easier time public speaking. When you’re speaking, take a deep breath, and speak from the diaphragm. You’ll come across as a confident person, even if you’re feeling less assured.