People sitting discussing and listening

Have you ever wanted to contribute to a meeting or discussion but simply been ignored?

This has to be one of my biggest frustrations. 

I had a previous colleague who would talk over me. It drove me crazy. One day I plucked up the courage to say (write) something about it. 

I explained that it happened to me, but that I had also observed it happening to other people. Interestingly they were aware that they did it, but I don’t think that they appreciated the impact that it had on everyone. 

How did we solve it? 

We agreed that when it happened I would pop a specific emoji in the chat.

It did happen again. But rather than having to use the emoji they caught themselves doing it and gave me or the colleague the opportunity to speak.

Here’s what I wanted to share. 

Starting from a place that most people only have positive intentions towards the people that they interact with, I now recognise that the other party most probably isn’t aware and doesn’t intend to speak over me, nor monopolise the conversation. They are not aware of the impact that it is having on me. And why should they be? 

I recently asked some fellow coaches how they would respond in these situations. The reply I got was what is stopping me from speaking up and making myself heard? An interesting thought…

It was only last week that the answer unexpectedly slapped me in the face…

It comes from a belief that I created about myself a few decades ago that irrespective of what I say, I can’t make someone change their mind if they are determined to take a particular course of action. I created a defence mechanism around not making my point if it won’t be heard anyway. 

I now recognise that this IS NOT TRUE. 

I have MANY VALUABLE THINGS TO SAY. What I say comes from my heart. I care deeply. I deserve to be heard.

So what do I do with this new found self knowledge?

I practice responding in a different way. I keep on practicing ways of getting into the conversation until I find the most effective ways that work for me. Gradually I will master it!

Here are three quick ways I will practice interrupting:

  1. Using the person’t name to break the flow
  2. Say “Can I stop you for a moment?”
  3. Say “I (dis)agree. [adding my opinion]

 

All of these said with self belief and confidence!

It’s not going to be easy. I CAN and WILL improve. I AM worth being heard! :)

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