Have you ever left a hybrid meeting disappointed that you didn’t speak up more?

When you’re joining on video and most people are in the room, it can be an intimidating “free-for-all” with everyone talking over each other. If you’re the least bit shy or lacking confidence, it’s easy to go through these meetings without saying a word.

When you don’t speak up and add value, not only is it bad for your profile, it’s also depriving the group of your thoughts. But don’t beat yourself up about it because this is something even senior executives face.

Here are three actions you can take to speak up and get heard when you’re on video in hybrid meetings:

  • Prepare to speak about your ideas
  • Enlist help to get opportunities to speak
  • Be persistent in speaking up

Prepare to speak about your ideas

When you go into a meeting “cold,” without giving any thought to what you want to contribute, it’s harder to feel confident speaking up.

In my case, it meant spending the first half of the meeting formulating ideas on what to say, and the second half kicking myself for missing opportunities to step in and make a point.

Now, I prioritize taking 5 minutes beforehand to jot down the 2-3 things I want to say or ask.

Just a small amount of preparation can give you the confidence to jump in when there’s a break in the action. It’ll also help you spot the opportunities to speak up and make your point.

This brings us to the second action.

Enlist help to get opportunities to speak

Even when you have great technology, it can feel hard to break into the conversation from the other end of a video call when your in-person colleagues are in full flow.

This is where it’s helpful to line up help in advance. For example, you could talk to the organizer beforehand to get a slot on the formal agenda. Or you could suggest the protocol of going around the Zoom, as well as the room, to ask for comments on a regular basis.

I’ve also found it helpful to enlist the help of a colleague attending in person to refer to me when my topics of expertise come up. For example, “Let’s hear from May on this – I know she’s been working on XYZ for a while.”

Which leads to the third action.

Be persistent in speaking up

When you have something relevant to say, you owe it to yourself to make sure you’re heard and to not give up.

For example, when you try to say something but in-person colleagues talk over you, be persistent and keep talking. They likely didn’t hear you and they’re probably not trying to be disrespectful. You may need to speak louder than usual and make sure you’re close to the microphone.

Once you’ve broken the ice and established yourself as an active participant, it’ll be easier the next time. Not only will your colleagues realize you’re present and adding value, you’ll feel more confident and involved.

But if you just sit back and let the meeting pass you by, that’ll be the way things continue to go.

Just don’t make the mistake of giving up on being heard

It’s all too easy to check out of those hybrid meetings and start scrolling through your email. But then everyone loses. You’re missing opportunities to show up and be seen and heard, and your colleagues are missing out on your good ideas.

It’s a little like starting a flywheel – it’s hard to get it going from a standing start, but once you do, the momentum generated makes it easy to keep going.

Keep practicing speaking up in hybrid meetings

And as you do, remember to:

  • Prepare your ideas – this will give you confidence to speak up
  • Enlist help – having allies in the room creates openings for you to speak
  • And be persistent – give yourself permission to do what it takes to be heard

Which action would most help you speak up when you’re on video in your next hybrid meeting?

Leave a comment and let me know.

Recommended Resource

How to Turn Regular Meetings into Career Advancing Opportunities

Your regular meetings are valuable opportunities to advance in your career whether they’re virtual or in-person. But they also represent a significant source of risk if you’re not aware of how to handle them well.

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Get this Career Mastery training to turn regular meetings into career advancing opportunities