Are your ideas being dismissed and your value to the company diminished? Could this be costing you a promotion or pay rise?
Here are my top Strategic Tips for the Boardroom to ensure you are heard, and your input is valued.
Try one or two out in your next meeting and notice the changes. As you become more confident and comfortable, build on your presence by implementing more of these points into your meetings. You may find soon that your co-workers behaviour changes and they give you the respect to participate in the meeting fairly.
1. Position, position, position. Position yourself as close to your boss as possible.
2. Sit up straight and maintain eye contact when you talk. Subtle hand gestures can add weight and presence to your delivery.
3. Be present – practice mindfulness and tune into your breathing and surrounds, even a quick one minute meditation will help keep you focused.
4. The meeting begins when you arrive for work that day, not when you walk into the boardroom. Be mindful of your body language, including your facial expressions, your walk and posture throughout the day. Look enthused and happy to be there, walk with purpose, and gesture with open hands to build trust.
5. If you are looking for people to agree with you, ask them some questions first that you know they will say yes to. It’s much easier to get people to agree with you when they are already agreeing with you. Nod along with them as you do so.
6. Ask questions, this shows you are interested and paying attention.
7. If it’s a video conference, try walking around while on the speaker phone, this will help keep your brain focused and sharp and responsive when unexpected questions come up.
8. If colleagues are competing for the limelight, you could place your question or item for discussion on the agenda – get talking to the P.A. about scheduling your slot – preparing is key here.
9. Once you have your opportunity to speak, your colleagues may try to sabotage you as they compete for attention. The trick here is to manage the room. This is where you can really shine, hold your nerve, breathe and follow the next points.
Prepare them for what you are talking about by beginning with something like: "Hi everyone, as you know I will be talking about XYZ today and I would like to ask that I am not interrupted until I am finished speaking. I will let you know when that is and am happy to answer any questions you may have at that time but until then, please, let me finish what I am saying."
10.If someone begins to interrupt or talk over the top of you anyway, try speaking softer, not louder. This forces them to be quiet to hear what it is you have to say. And yes, it really does work!
Bonus tip on handling interruptions / being cut off. Don't be afraid to pull them up, and use their name. "John, I asked that I not be interrupted while I'm making this point. It's important for the group to hear what I'm saying before I take questions or open it up for discussion."
If required you can go a step further and get their agreement "Is that okay with you John?"...
or "Can I count on your cooperation John?"
Another line you can use is "I've been patient and listened to your points of view without interrupting. Please give me the decency to make my point... Can you do that?"