A business meeting should be partly workshop and partly theatre - a good speaker will be well aware of this dual role. As a speaker, you should be aware of the fact that you’re in a forum where your strengths and weaknesses are on show,

and where you have a chance to influence others. Indeed, your interchanges with those attending may represent key moments in your career. Your handling of such interchanges will be enhanced when you employ certain theatrical effects.

Important meetings are often recorded, affording a permanent record and playback of what was said, showing how arguments were delivered. If your performance was successful, not just for the arguments advanced, but as a piece of theatre too, this can be beneficial, creating impact and confirming your stature long after the meeting.

Being assertive helps build your image

I once worked with a brilliant man who believed that when you had nothing worth saying, you might as well stay quiet. He was actually a very good speaker, yet his voice was heard much less often than the others, and he didn’t get promoted for years. His philosophy of keeping quiet was hardly beneficial for his career progression.

If you don’t assert your opinion, you may be overlooked. Even if you have no new points to make, you should consider responding to those made by others. When you paraphrase a speaker’s point, it shows that you have been listening attentively and have understood what was said. That helps build your image and gives you a good lead-in for your own response.

Maintaining the difference between assertion and aggression is crucial. Assertion is a key element in power-play. It’s not a form of aggression, but shows a proactive informative attitude that respects the opinions of others. Interruptions, of course, can be either assertive or aggressive, and may upset the theatrical performance you had in mind. But your way of reacting to an interruption may enhance your image - like a judo expert using his opponent’s weight against him. 

Conference Coming Up?

Why not book Carole Spiers as a high-impact motivational speaker on managing change, building resilience and reducing stress – see her in action at 

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