Although you may have committed yourself to keeping your mouth shut unless you absolutely had something critical to add to a business meeting, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Frequent talkers are perceived as more intelligent and competent.
Photo by tiarescott.
The trick won't work if you have no idea what's going on, of course. If you pipe up in the middle of a board meeting by yelling out "We should move all the cattle to the Indo-China region!" nobody is going to think you more competent for your interjection. At US News & World Report they offer this career advice:
No one is asking you to fake competence here. No one is asking you to pretend you know something you don't, or to spout nonsense, or to shout people down, or to fall in love with the sound of your own voice.
All you have to do is speak up more often. You don't need to know everything about everything to have an opinion or make an observation. Ask questions! Invite dialogue! Admit ignorance! Demonstrate that your objective is the success of your organisation and that you want to help. Just the very act of contributing is enough to establish yourself as a key player.
Most people that work with groups—bosses, teachers, presenters—will tell you that it's no fun being at the front of the group and never getting any feedback from group you're talking to. Speaking up offers you a chance to be visible among a crowd of bored and disengaged faces and gives your ideas or concerns a chance to be heard.
Have your own trick or methodology for meetings? Let's hear about it in the comments.