One of the biggest frustrations I hear from employees at organizations we work with, is that they don’t get invited into high level meetings. They feel decisions are made at these meetings, but they have little or no input, and I understand how they feel. When I was working my way up, I was always trying to get into higher level meetings, but I soon discovered most employees don’t get invited for a few simple reasons. In most cases, it’s not because they don’t have good ideas, it’s a value issue. If you’re an employee, here’s a few thoughts that will help you get into important meetings. And if you’re a boss, I suggest you pass this around to the team – it will help them understand what it takes to gain admission:
1. First, do your homework. If you can’t get an agenda ahead of time, ask around. Talk to other employees who attend the meetings. Find out how it works and what will be discussed. Be prepared.
2. Keep in mind that most higher level meetings aren’t about “brainstorming” they’re about strategy. So don’t pop off with every idea that comes into your head. Discriminate first. Make sure it’s worthy before you contribute.
3. Show some respect. Remember that the other people around the table aren’t newbies. These folks have serious experience. That means many of your ideas or suggestions have already been made. Trust me, they’ve probably already discussed new social media ideas.
4. Learn to gauge the temperature of the room, and gauge it quickly. There are all kinds of meetings, and without being told, you need to read the importance, the seriousness, and the purpose if you’re going to contribute.
5. When in doubt, shut up and listen. I once had an employee who felt compelled to comment on everything, whether she had any knowledge or not. Drove everyone crazy. Guess what? We stopped inviting her to meetings.
You need to be involved in meetings that determine your future, but you have to respect how those meetings happen and learn how to contribute. None of these rules are sacred, and there’s always the chance you’ll find the other people in the meetings aren’t qualified either. But if you start with this list, believe me, someone will notice and realize the value of you showing up on a regular basis.