This is Why You’re Not Taken Seriously in Meetings

meeting; team; working in groups; leading groupsDo you feel like you’re not getting the respect you deserve with your colleagues? Here are 6 suggestions for enhancing your credibility in meetings:

1. You don’t pre-pave

Find out what people are thinking about the agenda items ahead of time and start to plant seeds for your point of view on important topics. A quick check in with others a day or two before the meeting is all it usually takes.

2. You arrive “late” or leave “early”

If you are only showing up for the actual meeting, you might be missing out on an opportunity to strengthen relationships with others. Arrive about 10 minutes early to chat and network with others when you can talk about non-work-related topics. Avoid leaving right at the end of meeting and consider staying for the “after-party” to wrap up conversations, build rapport with others, or gather more information on an important topic discussed during the meeting.

3. You act like a personal assistant instead of a colleague

This one is especially for the ladies: You teach people how to treat you! Once in a while it’s fine to do little things for others, but don’t get in the habit of always fetching beverages for others, making copies, or taking notes. Encourage your peers to rotate these duties if they are regularly required at your meetings.

4. You back down when interrupted

People in management can often be very fast-moving, driven, and impatient. That means, some are in the habit of interrupting and talking over others to make a point. If this happens to you, don’t back down. Instead, calmly and directly callout the interruption and continue on. Also, be sure to speak up for others when someone interrupts them.

5. You don’t confidently own your ideas and positions

Have you ever offered a comment or idea that was met with silence, then minutes later someone else re-asserts your idea as though it’s their own? When that happens to you, calmly call attention to the fact that you previously said the same thing, and use humor if appropriate to make your point. For example, you can say, “That is a great idea, and I think it was just as great a few minutes ago when I said it.”

Also, another way to show your confidence is to avoid backing down when challenged. Instead, realize that many of the personalities in your meeting are forthright and maybe even skeptical. Now worries. Calmly assert your position and provide back-up rationale to support it.

6. You use too many words

Avoid thinking aloud or appearing to ramble. Make sure you state your point up front then provide pertinent supporting information to substantiate it.

Adapt these suggestions to the norms in your workplace regarding meeting expectations. Then, regardless of how others treat you, remain calm and collected, don’t be shy about asking questions to understand issues better, and stand your ground when you need to.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this information with it: Beth Strathman works with women in leadership who want to have more influence inside their organizations, by gaining greater focus, self-awareness, and impact with their teams. Learn more at:

Are Your Meetings a Snoozefest?

employee motivation, meetingsWhat is the difference between a newsletter and a meeting?  You think this is a trick question?  It’s obvious, right? Apparently not so obvious to a lot of leaders.

Like a memo or newsletter, many meetings end up as simply a way to disseminate information.  Those attending go around the horn and update the others in the room about what’s going on in their respective areas of responsibility.  Or maybe during the meeting someone “trains” you on a new procedure, product, or service.  Thus, many meetings are simply newsletters in disguise.  If you are gathering others in a room or in a virtual meeting space to merely disseminate information, send a newsletter or memo instead.

In contrast, you should use a meeting format when there is a topic to discuss that is critical to the long-and short-term success of your organization.  As proposed in Patrick Lencioni’s Death by Meeting, every good meeting needs “conflict” . . . something that will spark all kinds of thought, discussion and disagreement, allow enough time to discuss the issue(s), and not mix administrative, tactical and strategic topics.

With multiple options for interfacing and communicating with others available today, it is even more important to determine whether or not a meeting (whether virtual or face-to-face) is really necessary. The main reasons to have a meeting:

1.       To check-in daily with those working with you.  This is a short 5-10 minute administrative meeting where a supervisor and her direct reports briefly huddle to exchange information regarding their top priorities of the day.  It allows for quick updates, coordination and coverage if needed.

2.       To report back on the progress of tactics that are being implemented and are based upon the goals generated during a strategy session.  This is a weekly meeting where an entire team meets to report on individual efforts to impact team and organization goals and to make new commitments for the coming week.  In addition to Lencioni’s book, I recommend The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris Chesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling for a practical structure to these types of meetings.

3.       To discuss the current strategy related to the organization’s current business goals and the progress being made.    These can be held monthly or as needed and usually last from 2-4 hours.

4.       To do more in-depth organizational planning, including to review strategy, industry trends, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  This can be a two- to three-day meeting held offsite and may include department heads and other senior leaders, who gather to brainstorm, analyze, prioritize, and discuss where the business is going with respect to its market, products, service, or structure.  Sometimes they also discuss internal talent and succession planning.

All of these meeting types require the participation of the attendees around a meaningful topic.

So reflect on the meetings you convene or attend.  If you lead the meetings, what can you do make them more engaging for the others in the room? What topics, central to your organization, need to be discussed more and would lend themselves to lively discussion and analysis?  Assuming little or no discussion is required, what straightforward information currently shared at your meetings can be shared in a way that doesn’t take meeting time?

In short, instead of holding a meeting where others are dragging in a few minutes late, dreading the time they will have to spend listening to the same old irrelevant information and hoping there will be someone else in the room they can text with under the table, what can you do to your meetings, so others can’t wait to come and participate . . . ?