Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Your quiet power in meetings, part 3

In this series about meeting survival for quiet types, I've covered the need for your input (yes, you've got a lot to offer) and the importance of agendas.  Another important issue is who else is attending.  

Individuals in the workplace have different training, personalities, and goals - as you know.  What these usually mean of course is that politics emerge as people seek to further their own interests.  The extent and the nastiness of political behavior varies widely by both the organization itself and from person to person. 

But because more introverted types don't think so well on our feet and often need extra time to reflect, we can easily step into a political minefield if we aren't prepared for conflict or veiled power plays that might emerge in a meeting. 

Knowing who will attend allows us to be aware of possible personal agendas. Understanding who and what the power dynamics are likely to be in the session can make a big difference in our ability to be prepared in advance so that we don't inadvertently say something we later regret or make a voting misstep. I was once blindsided (read:  unprepared) by the political agendas in a meeting and voted when I should have rightfully abstained!  Lesson learned that day, for sure. 

So, in addition to ferreting out the formal agenda before a meeting (Your quiet power in meetings, part 2), spend some time scouting out who else is invited.  This information is often publicized with the meeting notice. Then - and this is the important part - make sure that you - quiet, shy, or introverted - spend some time considering the players in light of the agenda:  what are likely to be their biases and how could you be drawn into conflicts?  What is your position?  What do you want to say?

Adapted from The Introvert's Guide to Professional Success,  Chapter 18:  Do Your Research.  All Rights Reserved. 

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