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 boil rage out of otherwise cool professionals. Which is why career counsellors suggest 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 counsellor Lynn Berger advises. "Approach somebody else at the meeting and ask what's happening," she suggests.

"Maybe you're in the wrong regime," adds counsellor 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.'"

Keep your indoor voice to yourself and don’t let your frustration steam out into the open. Awkward air is one way to alienate colleagues, and spoil your rep. When your points are being shrugged away, Cranston says, you must be all the more diplomatic.

If it's a matter of urgency — say you're that lackey on the oil rig who saw the blinking red bulb — substitute volume and repetition for clarity.

"If by them not listening there's a real danger involved, then you confront," Cranston explains.

"Tell them, 'It's my job to warn you that this is a problem. If you don't want to hear it, that's one thing, but I'm responsible for telling you.”

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