How many meetings have you attended and how many discussions have you had with your friends and family where people shout over one another, all of them fighting to be heard? Personally, I have lost count!

I’m not claiming to be innocent. I am just as guilty as the next person for wanting my five minutes. In fact my whole family is pretty shocking or so I have been told. During a recent family get together, instead of speaking, I observed and it’s so true – we are terrible. We all butt in before the other person has finished because we want to make our point or ‘think’ we know what someone else is going to say.

It was painful to observe and reminded me of the many meetings I’ve attended where the same thing has happened.  This often happens because we are passionate about something, feel we have something to add and really want to make our point. But is this really acceptable?

There are times when we do need to be a little forceful to make our point but in my experience these are far and few between. The question should be is what you want to say going to add anything?

I’ve been to many meetings where a colleague or I end up spending most of the time listening. I always go to meetings with information I want to share and ideas but if someone else has said what I was planning to say I don’t repeat what they’ve said.

I will share the information and ideas if they are relevant or add something to the conversation. For me, it’s not about who makes the point or the point being made, it’s about solving a problem/coming up with a solution or moving something on.

This is why I like listening to those who don’t say anything. It’s often those who remain quiet who can make a much more informed decision – they take in everything everyone has said and then determine the best course of action.

There are times that I’ve seen these individuals be disregarded because others don’t think they have ideas or anything to add. But in my experience they often do.

Every one of us deserves to be heard. It’s not about who says the most or who shouts the loudest – sometimes those who remain silent are those who will make the biggest impact.