Let me guess. Your meeting participation strategies could use some help.
Imagine this. You want to be useful, support your employer, and advance its mission, but you face one big problem. You feel overpowered by colleagues who always hijack meetings and monopolize talking time. Simply put, your talent and expertise are eclipsed by the over-talkers like dark clouds block the sunlight from entering the earth.
I know what you are feeling. Your colleagues’ incoherent talkativeness annoys you. On top of that, they prevent you from shining the light of your knowledge. In other words, they are in your way.
What’s worse, when you finally get a chance to intervene, no one takes you seriously. You get no follow-up questions, no acknowledgment, and no consideration for your ideas. So, you are right to feel belittled, ignored — and invisible.
The bad news is, if you don’t fix this issue now by applying the right meeting participation strategies, you run the risk of getting stuck with low-value work because no one knows what you are capable of. Is that what you want? I don’t think so.
What if I told you you can turn things around. Really?
Yes, practicing the appropriate meeting participation strategies should enable you to use your voice and confidence — and get your mojo back.
That said, below are a few meeting participation strategies that CBL Team shares with professionals that want to increase the value of their input and make their voice heard. Let’s go over them one by one.
Some meeting participation strategies
1- Before Meetings
Do your homework and prepare for your meetings.
- Research the topics or projects ahead of the meetings.
- Read what thought leaders are saying on the issues related to the tasks at hand.
- Find out who will be in the room and who will lead the show.
- Identify challenges and potential solutions related to the issues at hand.
- Identify what strategies other companies implement to control or lead the market.
2- During Meetings
Listen carefully and take notes.
- Let most colleagues empty their chest first.
- Summarize everyone’s input and prepare yours from a different angle that moves the discussion forward.
- Identify the gaps or the blind spots in your colleagues’ input to better organize your contributions.
- Identify where the leaders want to go with the issue at hand.
- Write down your interventions in simple steps or bullet points.
Lean in, claim your time, and speak confidently to advance the conversation. More importantly, don’t let anyone stop you till you are done.
- Speak with confidence and don’t stop when a colleague interjects. Ask them to let you finish your point (for example, I will yield to you as soon as I finish my point).
- Cite research or data to make your points as necessary.
- Use short stories or illustrations that resonate with the audience (keep things brief).
- Make your point fast. Be clear and concise. End on an open-ended question.
- Be prepared to take follow-up questions.
- Ask time to research anything response you don’t have at the moment.
Refrain from talking too much.
- Learn from Justice Clarence Thomas’s speaking strategy. He never spoke during oral arguments for about 10 years. As a result, his colleagues became curious to know what he thinks about every case. Why? He is not desperate for attention. He knows his stuff, so he only pauses the questions his colleagues fail to ask.
- What I am trying to say is, if you speak too much, there is a chance your colleagues will take your interventions for granted. The lesson? Speak only when your contribution will tip the scale. Otherwise, refrain from repeating what is already said.
3- After Meetings: Do more homework and execute.
- Research what was said and review and act on any action plan.
- Complete related tasks ASAP.
- Keep researching solutions, tools, and breakthroughs.
- Offer to share your research and information with the lead person or project manager. That will turn you into a linchpin in no time.
- Prepare for the next meeting and repeat this cycle.
The bottom line is, as Steve Martin said,” be so good they can’t ignore you.” In other words, learn to speak gold, and everyone will listen.
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