Anyone who’s worked on a group project knows how difficult it can be to ensure each person’s thoughts and opinions are heard. When there’s a lively discussion happening, there will always be a few people who dominate the conversation and try to take the lead. However, it’s important to be able to politely interject and advocate for your ideas.
To help you do this, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members shared their best insights. Here’s how they recommend making your voice heard in a group setting, and why doing so is an important skill for all professionals and entrepreneurs.
Q. What’s one tip you have for making your voice heard in a group setting? Why is this so important for professionals and entrepreneurs?
1. Listen to Others First
Allow for extra time in meetings so there is a cushion to allow others to feel seen and heard. My mentor once said that, when you talk, you’re saying what you already know versus when you listen, you might learn something new. – Givelle Lamano, Lamano Law Office
2. Mix Up the Length of Your Answers
Give longer, more detailed answers when everyone else is giving short answers, and give short, to the point, impactful answers when everyone else is giving long answers. Mixing up the length of your answers helps you sound more thoughtful and wise. – Mark Daoust, Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc.
3. Infuse Humor
Humor goes a long way in business — longer than you think. Find a way to make the room, Zoom call, or meeting laugh. Things that are funny are usually true, but told with the right delivery can make you memorable. – Kara Brown, LeadCoverage
4. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
People who are shy tend to “hide” in group settings and meetings by sitting on the fringes and trying to blend in with their surroundings. If you want to make yourself heard in meetings and be noticed, push yourself out of your comfort zone. By positioning yourself centrally in the room or at the table, you send a powerful signal that you’re crucial to the discussion at hand. – Mark Stallings, Casely, Inc
5. Ask Questions
One way of making your voice heard in a group setting is by asking questions. You can start by asking questions based on what others are talking about. This will not only attract people’s attention toward you, but it will also present you as attentive, intuitive, and interested in the idea. As a professional or an entrepreneur, you can use the opportunity to build a strong network. – Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
6. Choose Your Words Carefully
If you want to make your voice heard in a group setting, you have to choose your words carefully. People tend to tune out people who are long-winded or not detailed enough in their explanation. You may have to practice speaking in front of a mirror, but learning to talk in a clear voice and deliver a concise message can get you heard in a crowd. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
7. Prepare a Specific Comment in Advance
Practice makes perfect, and that goes for speaking up during meetings as well. If you struggle to make your voice heard, I recommend preparing a specific comment in advance for each meeting you attend. Just make sure it’s relevant to the topic! Over time, speaking up will become second nature to you. Until you reach that point, you’ll have to be intentional about it. – Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
8. Acknowledge Others’ Insights Before Giving Your Own
Listen actively and rephrase the question or comment when opening with your response. This way, the leader of the group will know you’re paying attention and have something relevant to say. Plus, the person will know they’ve been heard, which will make them more attentive to your answer. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
9. Practice in Smaller Groups
It’s important to be able to get your point of view across in a group setting. If you’re not comfortable with speaking up, the only real solution is to keep practicing. Start with smaller groups. If necessary, practice giving short presentations with friends or family. At meetings, start with short but relevant comments on issues that aren’t extremely crucial to you so there’s less at stake. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
10. Focus on Quality Contribution
It’s OK to wait a minute and let the standard opinions present themselves. If you’re trying to make a decision around the meeting table, you will likely hear two opposing points of view, and then others will repeat what they agree with. Focus on quality over quantity of contribution. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
11. Get on the Agenda
One way to make your voice heard in a group setting is to get yourself on the agenda. This will offer you a guaranteed opportunity to speak. But make sure that you have something solid to offer to the group. Doing this will not just help you draw attention, but it will also help you make an impact on others. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
12. Add Value to the Topic at Hand
Connect and engage, not to be a star, but to share the stage with others and add value to the topic. Leave an impact on the crowd instead of being invisible and wasting the opportunity to be heard and to learn from others. It is important to take all the opportunities you can not just to be heard, but also to listen well and learn. – Daisy Jing, Banish
13. Pick Up Where the Last Speaker Left Off
This one strategy is an amazing trick to make your voice heard no matter the stage and number of people present there. If you want to speak, particularly in reply to a person, then when they finish talking, just repeat their last line and continue with your opinion about it. Repeating the last line asserts to the group that you will start from where the former person left. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
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