How I Got Over My Fear of Speaking Up in Meetings


I make my living as a public speaker, travelling the world to address dozens of audiences every year—but there was a time when I was afraid of speaking up in meetings. Unless I was leading the meeting, I wouldn’t speak up at all. I definitely wouldn’t have asked questions during a q & a period, and I often sat silent in learning sessions.

I now understand that the reason I feared speaking up was that I was afraid of being judged for what I said—essentially, I was afraid that people would think I was stupid if I said something wrong or I sounded timid or if my grammar wasn’t perfect. And, as I was often the only woman of color the in room, I was already feeling pressure about how others would perceive me. I was often frozen.

But several years ago when I started my executive MBA, I knew something had to change. I made a commitment to myself to overcome my fear of speaking in meetings, and eventually, I did.

Watch this week’s video to learn how I tackled my fear of speaking in meetings, and what you can do to make your own voice heard in spite of fear. See more about my diversity speaking engagements.