3 Ways To Bravely Be Heard In Meetings

The word “meetings” cast fear in the hearts of many but let’s face it, the workplace is filled with meetings and those by a different name – conference, townhall, powwow, get-together, panel, round-table, summit, workshop, session, gathering, huddle (gasp!)… and more.

This blog post is not to make fun of how much time is spent needlessly in meetings (Scott Adams already rules this via Dilbert):

Credit: Scott Adams "Optimal Meeting Density"

My focus is to ignite those who seldom get heard in meetings and yet are
frustrated with the progress and/or outcome

When someone says “take courage to speak up”, it seems to favor speaking hastily and speaking for the sake of being heard. Thus there is often a preference to say less and err less; but this isn’t satisfactory to many who often feel muted.

The learning is not to wait until you have an original idea or something different to speak up. Imagine if we spoke only when we know we are right or when it’s safe… how little meaningful interaction would result, with so much less collaboration on ideas and new discoveries. 

Here are 3 ways you can bravely, and respectably, be heard in meetings:

1. Ask clarifying questions

The first and easiest way to be heard in meetings is to ask questions clarifying what is bring discussed. Be applauded for boldly seeking clarity on what was just said. Some benchmarks of a great clarifying question include:

  • being relevant to the topic
  • helping uncover new knowledge
  • promotes understanding with people present
  • being asked in a manner that is open and receptive

2. Second a good idea

Never underestimate the importance of recognizing potential/merit in a good idea and being the first to vouch for it. Let others know that you’re actively listening and help expand a good idea with valuable input while you’re at it.
*No harm making a friend-ally or two while you’re being sincerely supportive. You never know when they will also do it for you someday*

3. Seek confirmation on meeting outcomes

Many meeting participants just depend on the meeting organizer or lead to wrap things up. However, in cases where the outcomes are unclear or less than satisfactory, chipping in with your voice will help. Simple and unassuming questions like these can help you get heard in meetings.

  • “Can we take a few minutes to recap the next steps?”
  • “What are the key decisions from this meeting?”
  • “Which of our meeting objectives did we achieve?”
  • “Who is responsible for taking this forward?”

It is seldom done and you’ll be remembered for it.

With the above 3 methods, I hope you are inspired to be boldly constructive whilst speaking up and getting heard in meetings and not suffer death by powerpoint.

Refreshing Chai