How to get your voice heard in meetings

September 18, 2016

How to get your voice heard in meetings

Until you are used to them, group meetings (internal or with clients) can feel somewhat intimidating. You may be surrounded by older/louder/stronger voices that tend to dominate conversations and allow little opportunity for you to contribute your thoughts and ideas.

You may be new to the agency, a naturally quiet person, nervous about talking in front of a group, or just starting out in account management. Perhaps you have tried to contribute in meetings, but you have been "shot down" by bigger voices, or by someone contradicting what you said - or maybe you were ignored altogether.

 

Why should you try to be heard?

Future-proofing your career

Account managers who have a voice are recognised and promoted more quickly than those who work in the background and keep their opinions to themselves. If you can prove that you are confident, curious and pro-active, and would like to be earmarked as a future leader, then meetings are the perfect forum to demonstrate your abilities - especially if your manager is present.

Your ideas are valuable

You may not have been in the industry as long as your colleagues, but you are an intelligent, thinking person who may have a fresh take on the matter at hand, or see things that others have overlooked. Age and experience do not have an automatic right to the best or most complete ideas.

 

How to get yourself heard

Have confidence in your own value

You have been asked to attend the meeting for a reason, that means that someone has decided that you have something to offer the group (or that it will be a good learning opportunity for you). If you are not sure why you are there, ask your manager or the person who invited you so that you know where your contribution would be best made. Whatever the reason, you are there because you are wanted and valued, so feel confident in that.

Ask questions

Asking questions shows that you are interested in the people attending, what they have to say, or the topic being discussed. Asking questions is also a great way to have a voice, even if you don't yet feel you have a solid idea or viewpoint to contribute. Just remember not to ask too many questions, as that may interrupt the flow of the meeting or appear annoying.

Support the ideas of others

It can be less intimidating to support the ideas of others rather than give a fresh idea yourself. For example, if someone says something that you agree with, you can start by acknowledging that person's comment, say that you agree with them, and then build on that comment with your own contribution. Once you become confident about supporting the ideas of others, you will feel less nervous about putting your own ideas forward.

Remember your body language

Slouching in your chair, or dropping your head, is no way to get noticed or heard. Having a good posture makes a positive impression, and it will show that you are alert and respectful of the others at the meeting table. Leaning forward when you speak (or even as you are listening) is another way of showing your engagement and confidence.

Be one of the first to speak

Speaking early on in the meeting breaks the ice and should help you to feel more relaxed. The longer you wait to say something, the more nervous you will likely feel, and the greater the risk of someone else saying what you were hoping to say. Speaking early shows that you are most definitely present, that you have come to the meeting to be a participant, and that you are someone who should be listened to.

Give your idea the advantage

If you can, get yourself included on the agenda so that you are guaranteed an opportunity to speak. If this isn't possible, let the group know – in advance – that you have something that you want to share. This should at least create some interest that may earn you attention in the meeting.

Make no apology for your contribution

When you speak, never belittle or undermine your contribution by your words, your tone or your body language. For example, avoid starting with apologetic language such as "I'm sorry, but...", or dismissing language such as "I just wanted to say...". This will immediately make you look weak and unsure of yourself. Start strongly and proudly with "I'd like to say..." or "Can I add...?" Don't forget to finish as strongly as you started.

Disagree politely

Disagreeing is an effective way of having your voice heard. However, if you do disagree, it will be vital to choose the right words. For example, saying "I disagree" can come across as confrontational and annoying, whereas "I wonder if we may also consider..." or "I agree in part, but I have some doubts about...." shows that you respect the other person's decision at the same time as offering your own viewpoint.

Be the facilitator

If part of your job is to drive the agenda and keep the meeting on track, then you need to speak up. It's important to make sure that folks do not go off on a "rabbit trail" - otherwise you'll be the one who will be held accountable if the meeting goes over time, or if there are points not covered. Saying something like "So, shall we summarise the action points of that last agenda item?" should do that trick. Another great way to show your meeting leadership is to invite contributions from everyone, so that no one leaves without speaking.

 

Meetings are an important vehicle for increasing your visibility, enhancing your career prospects and boosting your confidence. It's vital for you to overcome nerves and learn how to make the most of this opportunity.

Be a considerate and generous listener and contributor. Become comfortable sharing your ideas and knowledge. Ask great questions and show your enthusiasm, and watch the nerves start to melt away!

.

.





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Latest Tips & Tricks

Is advertising a magic wand?
Is advertising a magic wand?

August 19, 2017

Clients engage advertising agencies to make a marked difference in their business. Whether your client articulates it or not, there will be an expectation of success behind every discussion and every project commission. The question then becomes, what exactly is your client expecting advertising to do for their business, and is that expectation realistic?

View full article →

There is no 'I' in 'team player'
There is no 'I' in 'team player'

August 13, 2017

Have you ever read a recruitment ad searching for someone who will 'roll up their sleeves', 'get their hands dirty', or be a 'team player'? How do you go about doing that?

View full article →

Preparing an agency deck
Preparing an agency deck

August 06, 2017

Agency folk work with three main types of deck: the snapshot deck, the pitch deck and the copy deck. As an account manager it is highly probable that you will need to create at least one of these types of deck at least once in your career! 

View full article →

Our gift to you!

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE WEEKLY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT TIPS FROM AM-INSIDER, AND YOU WILL RECEIVE 100% OFF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF ANY ONE RESOURCE FROM THE AM-INSIDER WEBSITE. THAT'S ONE RESOURCE
ABSOLUTELY FREE.

It's our way of saying THANK YOU for subscribing, plus a BIGGER THANK YOU for caring about your career and wanting to become the best account management professional you can be. We're in behind you all the way.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP NOW!