Whether you’re collaborating with your team on a new initiative or meeting with prospective clients, effective communication is crucial for workplace success. However, in a room full of people bursting with passion and ideas, it can be difficult to make yourself heard.
So, how do you cut through the noise and make sure your ideas reach the right ears while still listening to, and respecting, your colleagues in the room with you? To find out, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
Q: What is the best way to make yourself heard in a group setting?
Here is what they advise:
1. Introduce Yourself at the Beginning
If you have already introduced yourself properly, and you have positioned yourself as an authority, people will ask for your opinion. If you haven’t established any presence in the room before the conversation begins, people will often try and talk over you or dismiss your comments. Ninety percent of your power in a group setting will come from your pre-established status. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International
2. Hop in Before the Subject Changes
In a group setting, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of voices without interrupting someone. It’s rude to interrupt someone when they’re speaking, but if the conversation starts to take a turn in another direction, politely ask if you could share your idea before moving along. The group will understand that you’re just focusing on the subject instead of trying to cut someone off. – Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings
3. Choose Your Timing Carefully
In a group setting, there are often many voices competing to be the loudest. Rather than trying to compete on volume or quantity, make sure you’re waiting until the right time to speak and focusing on adding value. By adding to the conversation (rather than just jockeying for some kind of control), you’ll establish yourself as a credible voice and quickly be looked to as a leader. – Brittany Hodak, Keynote Speaker
4. Bounce Off of Others
The best way to ensure that you are heard in a group conversation is to relate your statements with things other people have already said. Not only will people be more willing to hear your opinion of their previous statements, but you’ll also be helping to move the conversation forward in a constructive way. – Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA
5. Ask a Question
In most cases, people love voicing their opinion. If you ask a question during a group meeting, you’ll start a conversation based around what you asked. As other members of the group respond to your question, shift the conversation towards the point you want to make. – David Henzel, LTVPlus
6. Wait Until the End
Instead of trying to be heard in the middle of a busy conversation, wait until the end of the meeting to speak up. You can spend time during the conversation taking detailed notes and at the end of the conversation bring up anything important that needs to be said. Waiting until the end will allow you to be heard by everyone. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
7. Comment and Transition
If you want to make yourself heard in a group setting, comment on something that someone else mentioned and transition to your point. It’s challenging to transition when you start out, but as you practice, you’ll find it easier to speak in a group. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
8. Provide Value Upfront
People come to groups looking to gain value. If you want to do business with them, never sell anything. Keep the focus on providing value to the group. If you become a trusted resource for the group, then business opportunities will come your way without ever having to give a pitch. – Ben Walker, Transcription Outsourcing, LLC
9. Speak With Confidence and Conviction
Believe in what you’re saying, and others will be more apt to listen. Present ideas confidently and avoid prefacing them with phrases like, “Maybe this could …” or “Just an idea, but …” Conviction in your own ideas is the first step to attracting the group’s attention, inspiring confidence in others, and getting them on board. – Stephen Beach, Craft Impact Marketing
10. Manage Your Body Language and Listen
Look like you are really listening by standing in an open position while others are talking. Don’t cross your arms, fidget, or constantly look away when others are speaking. Also, don’t stare at people and smile and nod at everything they say. Instead, stand or sit in a relaxed way and listen. When you look like you are paying attention, they will be prepared to do the same for you. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
11. Sit Front and Center
It’s easy to get lost in the crowd if you blend in so much you’re barely noticeable. Don’t be afraid to sit at the center or front of a gathering or meeting. This will ensure that your voice is heard and others are able to take in what you say. Step out of your comfort zone and express your opinion with confidence. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
12. Raise Your Hand
In most group settings, someone is moderating. And if there isn’t a “formal” moderator, there will be folks who are empathetic to the person who is attempting to speak but gets drowned out. While raising your voice means that you can speak, it won’t necessarily cut through the noise. But, if you can get another person to say, “Wait, everyone, let’s let Jenny speak,” then you’ll have full attention. – Aaron Schwartz, Passport
13. Speak Only When You Have Something Important to Say
The best speakers in groups are those who stay silent during the majority of the conversations and only really say something if something needs to be said. Those are the people who often garner the most attention and whose words are the most well respected. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.
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.