Meetings are prolific in corporate life and love them or hate them, they can be important vehicles for cementing your professional reputation and overall visibility. But let’s face it, attending meetings can be hard work. Especially if you are a little shy, just generally quiet, are a reflective thinker, or just don’t like sitting and listening to people talking over the top of each other.
Granted, not every meeting is a frenetic contest of the loudest and most confident speakers battling it out for airtime, but it can certainly feel that way at times.
Your ability to make meaningful contributions in meetings is not only important to the business, but they are important to your career, and your leadership brand.
What happens then if your efforts to contribute suggestions or ideas during those meetings are ignored by the group at the time… AND to make matters worse, then get accepted and embraced minutes later when offered by someone else? You are left thinking…but hang on, I just said that 5 minutes ago! This is frustrating, demoralizing and downright annoying.
If this doesn’t happen to you, you might think it doesn’t happen at all; but in fact, it happens so often it is one of the most frequently asked questions in my communication workshops: “How do I stop people taking credit for my ideas in meetings?”
Here are some strategies for reclaiming credit of your ideas in meetings, and a three-step process to reclaim ownership of your ideas in meetings:
Don’t take it personally, even if it is personal – As soon as we make it about us we get frustrated and angry, and our ability to manage our emotional state (and put our best foot forward) declines. So ‘shake it out’ mentally, relax, breathe and then focus on what to do next.
Take it as a compliment! – If people are repeating your ideas (even if they then get credit for them) it means they are probably great suggestions, and that others thought enough of them to go ahead and repeat them! Take confidence in this, and realise the strength and importance of your contributions. They are valuable!
Acknowledge and advance – So, how DO you claim back your idea when this happens? Well, if someone repeats your suggestion, simply acknowledge their contribution, and add further evidence to strengthen your idea ownership. For example, “Thanks for supporting my idea Sam, it’s good to know you’re on board too! We really need to take action on this because..…” Speak up and bring ownership of the idea back to you. This is a much more elegant approach than saying something like, “Hey Sam I just said that! You’re just repeating my idea.”
So next time you find yourself in a meeting with people taking credit for your ideas, rest assured that you can reclaim those ideas with integrity and grace, and at the same time, continue advancing your professional visibility and credibility.
As a professional People Whisperer, Author and Speaker, (and one of YMag’s Top 10 Women to Watch in 2019!) Anneli supports women to increase their visibility, confidence and personal power for greater professional impact in male-dominated industries.
Anneli’s flagship masterclass for Women in leadership has inspired women from all over Australia to step in, speak up and stand out through a focus on building a presence, improving visibility and strategically managing the right professional impact. She’s currently working on her next book: Visible: Strategies to be seen and heard as a woman at work.
You can connect with Anneli on LinkedIn at https://au.linkedin.com/in/anneliblundell, follow her on Twitter @AnneliBlundell or connect via www.anneliblundell.com