You go into a meeting positively bursting with good ideas, but come out feeling depressed because no-one listened to you. We look at five reasons why your ideas may get overlooked, and how to make sure your voice is heard during business meetings.
1) Know your enemy
Well, they may not be your enemies, but sometimes your business colleagues can feel like that if you’re being ignored. But failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Make sure you learn about the meeting participants. If you don’t know them, take the time to look them up on Google or LinkedIn. Have a look at their websites and find out what they’re passionate about. If you sound like you’ve done your research, people will be more likely to take notice of you and listen to what you have to say.
2) Arrive early
Turning up late to a meeting not only looks bad to the other participants, it also makes you feel embarrassed and stressed. If you’re in a fluster you’re unlikely to perform at your best. Making sure you arrive early means that you’ll feel relaxed and in control. Then you can take time to review the agenda and greet each person as they arrive. Showing an interest in people before the meeting starts will also make them more receptive to what you have to say.
3) Body language
If you sit with your head down and your arms crossed you’ll look negative, and it may appear that you’re not paying attention. Instead listen with your whole body. Make sure you’re fully attentive to the person who is speaking. Make eye contact, lean forward and nod in agreement on occasion. If the speaker feels that you’re really listening and engaged, he or she is more likely to welcome your comments.
4) Pick a good seat
Don’t hide behind other people. Instead pick a seat where you can see everyone and actively participate. If the table is rectangular, sit at the end of the table. Not only will you have a good view of everything, it’s also associated with authority – some of which may rub off on you.
5) Think before you speak
One of the quickest ways to lose respect in a meeting is to interrupt the speaker or say something inappropriate. Think about what you want to say before you open your mouth. Is it relevant to what the speaker is saying? It’s important to actively participate, but just say something for the sake of it. If it sounds like you don’t know what you’re talking about, people are unlikely to listen to your ideas at future meetings.
6) Be respectful
Even if you don’t agree with what someone is saying during the meeting, don’t just bluntly disagree with them in front of everyone else. This will immediately cause hostile feelings and make for an awkward atmosphere. Instead, ask questions in a respectful manner to try to get them to explain their view. And if things don’t go your way, control your body language and emotions. If you come across like a sulky teenager, you’ll quickly lose everyone’s respect.
By following our top tips you’re sure to come across in a positive way during meetings. Have fun getting your ideas out there!
Posted by Julie Tucker
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