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Don’t Sit Like a Potted Plant

Sometimes, we like to sit back and watch the action from the sidelines. This often happens in meetings. When others fill the space and we don’t have anything new to add, we often stay silent and allow the discussion to follow its course without our help. 

Observation, rather than contribution, may seem like the best course of action. The problem is this: We do need to hear from our leaders if they are to project the kind of confidence we want to follow. Yet, too many leaders think the only way to be heard is when they are ready to make a declarative statement that adds real value. If they don’t sense that need, they stay silent.

Consider, however, that there are myriad ways to be heard in any meeting. Making an assertion or offering an opinion are only two of them. Asking a question is a way of being heard and heard loudly. Expressing agreement is a way of registering a view. Writing down and capturing an idea under discussion speaks to a room. Getting up to refresh a cup of coffee suggests an indifference observed by everyone. Head nods and shakes are yet another way of making your views known. 

In meetings, great leaders don’t sit like potted plants, only observing the action. They make themselves heard every so often so as not to be taken for granted. There are many ways of being heard. Make sure others remember you were there and what you had to say, even when you say very little. 

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