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Getting Heard Today–Do People at Work Make You Feel Invisible?–

Do you sometimes feel you’re the smartest person in the room–and the last to get heard?

Are you the invisible person in the room? I know people from CEO to entry level players in organizations  that often feel that way.

Chronic Invisibility is serious.

Not being able to get heard and to influence the direction of a conversation can dampen the future of the brightest of people.    The person  might as well be the unused chair in the corner.

How can you take immediate action?  Here are some steps.

1.  Ask yourself these questions.  Do you feel that you’re more of an observer than a maker of what’s happening?  When you make a comment, does it seem that nobody heard you and that everyone moved on quickly?  Do others get the key assignments?  Are you too often not chosen for key actions?

2. Today begin to see every meeting as a live performance.  Meetings are productions and they are showtime.  That’s not shallow way of thinking, it’s reality.  As part of the production, you have to know your lines.  Be sure you are not only prepared, but take every opportunity to bring a handout that analyzes the issues and gives your view of alternative solutions.  With the right handout, you can dominate the agenda and what’s next.

3.  Stay on top of managing your relationships.  I know we want to think that head down, nose to the grindstone, don’t look right or left is just giving your all to your work.  Actually, however, in today’s team environment, your relationships with team members determines your effectiveness.  So show up!  Show up in email strings, for company functions, and engage people at every level.  It’s not screwing off.  It’s part of your job.

4. Engage everyone at the meeting.  Be sure you speak to every person, every time who is in attendance.  If it’s your style to hide out in the back of the room and isolate, don’t be surprised if no one takes you into account.

5.  Learn to ask really good questions.  It’s not easy.  We enjoy downloading what we think without it occurring to us that there are multiple points of view.  Surface what people think before you begin a monologue about your take on the issue.   I personally didn’t know how to ask questions so I made a list to ask.  “How are you doing?  How was your weekend?  What have you been working on?  Are you getting the help you need?  What are some of the tough issues?  Have a list of 20 questions that you can ask  Give your opinions, but understand the context of the person you’re talking to–and influencing.

6.  Make good comments during the meeting.  People who chatter about each thing that’s brought up experience their own kind of invisibility–no one sees them because they talk so much nothing they say stands out.  The best way is to think about several things you might say during a meeting and to speak up at key moments, volunteering to do key things.  Point out opportunities.  Explain dangers and risks.

7.  Demonstrate your stuff to your team members .  People want more from you than that you do great accounting, program software, or take care of customers.  They want to know how you make a difference.  How was it before you started and how much has it improved now?  Learn to tell the story.

8.  Get professional help from a good coach.  You may spend a few hundred dollars taking assessments and learning about yourself, but working with a good coach will repay you richly, because you’ll be seen as a valuable player when the foundations of the organization shake and the layoffs occur.  Find someone who really is skilled at coaching and who cares about you.

Here’s the bad news.  Total numbers of employees that run companies will continue to decline.  The unemployment that we see is not as much because of a bad economy as it is because of an amazing technology that continues to eliminate jobs.  This will continue.

The good news is that if you are a competent professional and a great team member who solves problems, you have never had a greater opportunity–if you’re not invisible!  Get seen!

Visit the invisible man,, from whom the graphic comes.

Austin, Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Carol Kallendorf, PhD. | (512) 417-9756 

Jack Speer | (512) 417-9428


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