We all know the feeling. The speaker at the front says breezily “I’ll be taking questions at the end so do be ready to put your hand up!” And your first thought isn’t what your question might be, it’s whether you’ll have the courage to put your hand up. In front of everyone. Including, perhaps, your boss.
It still happens to me. As a journalist, my default position is curious — but that pit-of-the-stomach feeling is never far away when it comes to raising your arm, and showing your hand, in front of a crowd. It’s something we have a lot of fun tackling in my workshops. Which news story do you think should be the lead story tonight?
Here’s my tip. I remind myself of a corporate away-day I was at many years ago as a very junior member of the newsroom — something about Step Change, I think — and I had a blinder of a question. The moment came. I hesitated. Someone else broke the ice with a different question … my moment was lost.
An hour later, standing at the gents, I shared my blinder of a question with the colleague standing next to me. We agreed it would really have hit the spot. And so too, it turned out, did the boss. He told us so as he emerged from the stall behind us. “Believe in yourself a little more”, he smiled at me as he washed his hands. “You might find you’re saying what everyone else is thinking … including the boss.”