Different people have different types of anxieties about expressing views at an employee forum. Some have personal issues such as inhibition in expressing something at a public forum. Others worry about the impact their views or questions, raised at employee forums, will have on their professional relationships. However, if you think you have something to share which will genuinely add value to the discussion going on in your organization, here are a few tips that might prove helpful.
Listen before talking
Any view expressed at an employee forum should add value to the discussion. Asking questions or expressing opinions that completely deviate from the topic under deliberation will not just annoy everybody else attending the forum but also waste time. The key to avoid such a situation is to listen intently, understand all the viewpoints and then judge whether what you are going ask or express will help continuing the conversation.
Focus on the issue
Usually employee forums are organized around specific agendas. Your opinion will hold value only when you stay focused on that. Many a times, while introducing ourselves before speaking at larger forums, we tend to make a lengthy speech about who we are, our achievements and our knowledge. Remember, people are not interested in knowing about you. They want to know what additional viewpoint you have surrounding the topic that is being discussed. Sticking to the topic and bringing in fresh perspectives is the only way you can earn the respect of other attendees.
Keep it short
People’s attention span is short. So, try to make your point as directly and as quickly as possible. Often, we spend too much time in creating the context to drive home a message. A public forum, where there are many others who might also have questions to ask or views to express, is not a great place for that. Avoid using too many fillers as you talk and keep your sentences short.
Don’t get too personal
Remember this is a public forum and people are attending it because of their interest in the agenda that the forum is dedicated to. Never try to make any personal comment on anyone or strike a conversation with another member that might sound personal. Avoid glorifying or vilifying anyone. That might strain your professional relationship outside the forum.
Talk about one issue at a time
Trying to bring up multiple issues will only lead to chaos. Avoid asking questions or expressing views that have too many angles to it. That leaves the discussion in a deflated state with no line of thought getting its due attention. It also foils all the effort that has gone in to structure ideas and views around the agenda of the forum.
The key is to stay committed to adding value to a discussion at an employee forum. Strike the right balance between the issue you are bringing up and its relevance to the topic discussed in the forum. Ask yourself if the view you are going to express will help continuing the conversation or will it steer people away from their focus. Such considerations will help you earn a lot of recognition and respect from your peers.