Yikes! How many do you say are going to be there? Fifty? Fifty? A full staff meeting, and we’re supposed to each give out ideas for company improvement? Are they mad? No, old chap, but you’ll drive yourself in that direction if you don’t calm down.
No, I don’t think even God can protect you from this one. Now, the first thing to do is to make sure you arrive early. Everyone’s going to be sitting around or standing, drinking coffee. Spread as much disinformation as possible. “Yes,” you can say. “I’ve been looking forward to this meeting. I think it’ll prove very valuable.” This shows a certain confidence, without actually saying that you’re looking forward to speaking.
You can be pretty certain that at least 50% of those present are scared enough themselves, without having to put up with someone who’s actually confident! Now, presumably this hasn’t simply been sprung on you. Hopefully, you have at least a couple of days to prepare and this is what you should definitely do.
If your knees knock and your eyes spin around in their sockets at the very thought of having to say something at the meeting, then rehearse – hard. Do the old trick of resting in your chair at home and imagine yourself at the meeting. There they all are, all your colleagues sitting around the table, and you may be sure that they’re in various states of terror, confidence, ignorance and excitement. You certainly won’t be the only one terrified.
But face the terror. There really isn’t much point in saying to yourself; “Oh yes, I’m really looking forward to this meeting and being able to speak in front of all these other people.” You know perfectly well, whatever else you may say to yourself, that you’re scared witless. But this state doesn’t have to continue. To begin with, prepare. What are you going to say? For that matter, why’s the meeting been called in the first place?
This is the first answer to be asked and answered fully and completely. Now you know why the meeting’s been called, then you should be able to come up with something halfway sensible to say. Okay. There they all are, you imagine. Now. Speak. You’ve been called upon to give your august opinion on a certain topic. Because you know why the meeting’s been called, you must have some idea of what you’re going to say.
Rehearse a variety of topics. Let’s face it, you have a brain that’s as good as anyone else’s in the room.
Posture. Don’t hunch over the table, hands locked together, blood showing beneath your nails. On the other hand, don’t be too relaxed. Don’t lean your chair back as you warm to your subject, becoming so blase that you overbalance. Just a nice, relaxed pose.