Some work meetings can be…well…downright nerve wracking. Depending on who is in the room, and what the meeting is about, you might find yourself being nervous about it. But whether you are leading the meeting yourself, or a participant in one, you can’t advance your career without projecting confidence. These tips can help you feel confident in any meeting.

#1 Prepare.

Projecting confidence in a meeting begins way before the meeting actually starts. Whether it’s wearing something your feel powerful in, or reminding yourself of past successes, get yourself ready for the meeting beforehand. And by beforehand, I don’t mean five minutes prior. Prepare for questions or topics that might come up and how you are going to handle them. Go over the data or information that you are going to present at the meeting. You won’t feel confident if you don’t feel prepared.

#2. Contribute with Questions.

To increase your confidence, you need to understand any projects or tasks that are assigned to you. Pay attention to what other participants are saying and how they say it. Asking thought-provoking questions about the topic will make you appear valuable. In order to do this, listen to the conversation carefully and think about what has not been covered or what potential scenarios can arise. Try to connect to the concerns people might have.  

And a good save if you can’t think of any questions to ask, or are really new to the topic, is to simply ask someone to explain something further that they’ve already said. People love to share their knowledge in meetings (usually) and asking them to explain their point further helps you get up to speed and knowledgeable faster. So it’s a win for you – and them. 

#3. Be Honest and Direct.

There is nothing wrong with not knowing the answer to everything at a meeting. In fact, you will appear more confident in saying, “I don’t have that information, but I will email you after the meeting with it”, rather than stumbling and mumbling, or worse, making something up. When you are speaking with others, be decisive in both your words and your actions. 

Being confident in meetings can impact the quality of your work and make you a more valuable employee.