What do you do when all eyes are on you?

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Leadership and Marketing Update from H. LEINER & CO.

What do you do when all eyes are on you?

Getting singled out at a meeting and being asked to give your opinion can be uncomfortable and intimidating.

But it’s important for meeting leaders to be able to call on anyone, even the people who aren’t actively participating, in order to have broad participation and maximum diversity of input.

Sometimes your best comments and contributions are made when you are unprepared. Instead of viewing being singled out as uncomfortable, think of it as of opportunity to share your thoughts.

Here are 6 tips for adding value to a meeting when you’re called on out of the blue:

  1. Carefully prepare for every meeting: Before the meeting, jot down some notes of some of your ideas and questions so you will have something to fall back on if you need. Taking notes during the meeting also helps organize and clarify your thoughts.
  2. Trust yourself: Don’t think that your ideas are not worth sharing. If you have an opinion, express it. You are the only one at the meeting with your exact experience, background, personality, and concerns. You can add value by stating an opinion that is unique to you.
  3. Decline if you have nothing valuable to add: If you really have nothing to say because you agree with the things that have been said, it’s fine to say that. Don’t just say “I’m fine” though, because that shows a lack of interest. Instead, say “I agree with what Moshe said about the fundraising campaign” or “The ideas expressed work for me”.
  4. Start slowly: Many times people get flustered when caught off guard and then speak quickly and ramble. Take a deep breath so that you can slowly articulate your point.
  5. Set up your comments: Prepare the group for what you will add by saying “I have one suggestion and one question” or “I have two comments”, so you can keep yourself on track.
  6. Give yourself permission to think out loud: Since you were called on without volunteering, you’re not expected to have your thoughts completely formulated yet. You can tell the group that you are thinking through a few ideas and present them to the group by thinking out loud.


Sometimes being uncomfortable for a moment when you’re called on unexpectedly is worth it!

(Harvard Business Review)



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