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How to be heard

The harshest blow to your office ego can be the gentle brush aside: the aggravating discovery that your helpful input is bouncing back off cold shoulders and apathetic, nodding heads.

The harshest blow to your office ego can be the gentle brush aside: the aggravating discovery that your helpful input is bouncing back off cold shoulders and apathetic, nodding heads. Being sidelined during conferences can make otherwise cool professionals rage. Which is why career counselors suggest that you respond with a pause — and if you’re feeling tuned out, tune in on why. “On some level, everybody wants to be heard. But if that’s not happening, you need to understand what’s going on,” career counselor Lynn Berger advises.

“Approach somebody else at the meeting and ask what’s happening,” she suggests. “Maybe you’re in the wrong regime,” adds ExecutiveCoachNY.com counselor Jane Cranston. “If people keep ignoring your input, it may be a clue that you’re out.” It could also be a clue that you’re hedging your two cents with too much timidity and too little pizzazz.

Voicing suggestions, Cranston points out, is all about the wind-up pitch, that flair for evocative details that turns a routine purchase of payroll software into a landmark moment in corporate history. “People might not be hearing you because you’re not delivering the message right,” Berger concurs.

If not, try a change of scenery. “Schedule a time and place,” Cranston offers. “Tell your boss, ‘I have something to add, I’d like to have five minutes of your time share it.’” Refrain from blame-casting, she adds. “Assume you were the poor communicator,” she suggests. “Say, ‘Maybe I didn’t make myself clear when I was explaining this.’”

 
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