Think about the last meeting you attended at work. After the meeting, did you feel that everyone heard what you had to say and your ideas were taken seriously? Or did you leave frustrated because louder or more forceful people dominated the meeting? If so, you need to take control of the role you play in meetings. Here are 7 quick tips to get your ideas heard in your next meeting:
1) Prepare before the meeting. Know what you’re going to say. If you’re a person that gets tongue-tied in a meeting, make sure you prepare your comments in advance. Look at the agenda and plan the key points you want to cover.
2) Get on the agenda. Don’t wait until the meeting. Ask the meeting leader to put your topic on the agenda so you have a scheduled time to share your ideas.
3) Run the meeting. Talk to the meeting leader and offer to help by running the next meeting. That way you can control the conversation.
4) Offer to take notes on a flip chart. If you’re not comfortable running the meeting, you can offer to stand up and capture the ideas on a flip chart. That will make it easier for you to add to the ideas, since you’re the one recording them.
5) Interrupt other people. For many of us this is very uncomfortable. We want to be polite and wait our turn. Unfortunately, in some meetings, only the loud and pushy people get heard. Realize that sometimes, you can’t wait for a break in the conversation and interrupting is the only way to get your point across.
6) When you don’t get a response to an idea, repeat it again. In some meetings, so much is going on at the same time, you may need to say your comments again. Or you may need to rephrase then so people understand their importance.
7) Take credit for your ideas. If someone else repeats something you’ve said as their idea, don’t get upset. You can remind the group that it was your idea by thanking the other person for supporting it. You can say, “John, that ties right into what I said a few minutes about the delivery problem. As I mentioned, this is a key area we need to address. Thanks for your suggestion. ”
If you really want to get heard in meetings, you need to work at it. Try new strategies and see what works best for you. At the end of every meeting, ask yourself what went well and what else you could have done. Make notes and use those ideas to prepare for the next meeting to make sure that you get heard.
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Laura Browne is the author of a practical & easy-to-use book for women, Why Can’t You Communicate Like Me? How Smart Women Get Results At Work. To register for her Free Teleconference on How To Deal With Difficult People, go to http://www.inyourfaceink.com (This book is available at the website and at Barnes & Noble online. )
When Laura isn’t writing, she helps women be more successful through WOMEN Unlimited, a nationally recognized resource for cultivating leadership excellence, http://www.women-unlimited.com