30 Apr Didn’t I just say that?
Last week 2 clients came to me after incidents in meetings. After listening for a few minutes, I knew exactly what happened. Because I have had it happen to me and seen it happen to others.
Think about it – you are in the middle of a discussion and you make a comment that is important and relative to the discussion. Then people just start talking again, never acknowledging that you spoke. You might start doubting yourself at this point. Was I wrong? All of a sudden one of the “golden children” says the exact same thing you said a minute ago! They are hailed as a genius, and the boss thinks they are fantastic.
And you’re sitting there thinking, “what just happened”?
At first, you’re not sure what to do? Didn’t they hear me? Am I being ignored? Then you get mad – and that’s good because it means you are not going to just take it anymore. But what to do? After about 40 years in dealing with this I have come up with my method of dealing with this – in 4 steps.
- Be prepared for the next meeting
- Find allies with the natural leaders.
- Make eye contact.
- Stand up for yourself.
Be prepared for the next meeting like you are going into battle. Think of all situations, take notes. Look at the agenda to see what is being discussed. Find your points and make sure you have thought through all the options. Then on to the next step.
Find the natural leaders in the meeting. I am not saying the boss, or the “golden haired child” I am talking about the people who make comments that people listen to. The people that when they talk others nod their heads. Then go to them for advice. Don’t talk about not being heard. Talk about your ideas for the next meeting. Ask if there are any drawbacks to your ideas. What you are doing is making them your champion.
The next time you are in a meeting, do not be afraid to make a comment. Make it in a strong voice, and make eye contact with your champion, and slowly nod your head. Most likely they will nod back showing you that you were heard – at least by them.
But then it happens again – the “golden child” again comes up with your comment and gets praised. If your ally has any influence at all in the organization – they will comment that you just said that. At last someone is listening to you. If you’re lucky others will start jumping in with the same comment – they saw it happening too. If nothing happens – then you need to say it yourself.
You must believe that your opinion is worth being heard – because it is!