Is Imposter Syndrome Stopping you from Speaking Up in Meetings?

Imposter Syndrome

Working from home means it’s easier to get overlooked in the corporate world as you are hidden away. Speaking out at meetings makes you more visible and gives you a chance to remind senior management of how good you are.

However, thinking of a meeting in terms of career performance can induce an “imposter” episode as you fear being found out and regarded as not good enough to do your job.

What is the Imposter voice in your head saying?

  • “I don’t have anything useful to say”
  • “It’s rude to interrupt”
  • “I need to get the phraseology just right”
  • “I’ll look stupid if I ask a question”

The whole of the meeting is spent with the Imposter voice nagging away at you. You miss your chance to speak and then berate yourself even more.

There are several things you can try to beat the inner Imposter.

A few suggestions are:

  • Get hold of the agenda ahead of the meeting
  • Set yourself a clear outcome
  • Plan which two topics you are going to speak on
  • Set yourself a fallback position; i.e to summarise, agree or question

There’s a really effective little task that is easy to do and has worked well for a lot of clients I have been coaching on Imposter Syndrome. It is based on Tim Gallwey’s technique of observing the critical variables in his “Inner Game” series.

It works because you are observing the pitch and pace of the meeting rather than focussing on your own performance. It raises your self-awareness and is a good mindfulness tool that will calm you down. This in turn leaves you free to do your best thinking.

This is how it goes:

At the meeting have a clean sheet of paper and a pencil.
Remember this is an observation exercise. You are not going to force yourself to speak at the meeting. You are going to observe your thoughts and notice times when you could speak up at the meeting. When you are aware of this make a strike | (a vertical line)* on the piece of paper. *I have suggested a | (vertical mark) because it is more spontaneous than an X.

You make the strike on the paper each time you felt you wanted to speak but decided not to. Count up the strikes. Do this for a week. At the end of Week 1 write done the tally.
Do the same exercise in Week 2. What do you notice between Week 1 and Week 2?

Clients I have coached noticed several things.
1. They spoke far more often at meetings than they had originally thought
2. Over time the number of vertical marks reduced i.e. they spoke more at meetings
3. They continued with the exercise beyond Week 2

Give it a try. How does it work for you?

Would you like coaching on Imposter Syndrome?  Then why not call me on 020 3058 1790 or contact me to find out what I can do for you.