Speaking Skills Matter In Meetings

WRITTEN January 30, 2020 Author: Jen Glantz

“I never do any public speaking,” the workshop attendee said to me. I knew he was mistaken.


“No,” he replied. “I never give presentations in front of an audience or speak on a stage.”

“Do you ever speak to people one-on-one? Have important meetings?”

“Of course! All the time!”

What this person didn’t realize is that public speaking isn’t just when you’re standing in front of a room of people or talking through PowerPoint slides. The definition of public speaking is the art of effective oral communication with an audience, even if it’s an audience of one. We often put off improving our speaking skills until we have a big presentation or project on the horizon when we need those skills for everyday conversations. 

Have a meeting coming up with another person or a handful of people? Here are four public speaking tips to bring to the table:

Work on Eye Contact

In a small group or a casual setting, eye contact might not be a focus of yours. Just like when you’re in front of a larger crowd, eye contact allows you to build rapport with the people you’re talking to and shows respect. Balance the amount of time you look at the person and look away. VeryWellMind.com recommends the 50/70 trick, which encourages you to maintain eye contact 50% of the time when speaking and 70% of the time when listening.

Use Your Voice

Be aware of your voice sounding monotone when you’re in a meeting. If you feel relaxed your voice will follow that energy. Work on using your vocal range and speaking up to show confidence. Lift your chin to enunciate your words.

Sit Up

Avoid sinking in your chair or crossing your arms. Pay attention to your body language. When you are one-on-one, it can be easy to mimic the other person’s body. Sit up straight. Anchor your legs on the ground. Use your hands with control. Control your body language even though you’re not standing in front of an audience.

Come Prepared

Know the purpose of the meeting and come prepared with questions you can ask the person or people you’re with. Practice answers to questions you think they will ask you. One-on-one conversations are more intimate. Show up ready to be heard.

Refine your public speaking skills often. You don’t just need them for a big speech. You need them every day. Whether it’s a business lunch or a family meeting, strong public speaking skills help you get your point and purpose across.

Think it is time to brush up on your public speaking skills? Check out our upcoming Introduction to Public Speaking training here. If you’re looking for ways to improve your overall communication skills, register for one of our upcoming public classes in NYC.
Photo courtesy of WoodleyWonderworks on Flickr

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