Like the childhood game of musical chairs, getting a seat at the table can seem like a rare mix of chance and luck. Colleagues and friends pull out a chair for one another socially. In the real world of business, however, this rarely applies.
Getting a seat at the table can be complicated
Instead, you often find there is not an available seat – or it is obvious (not to mention awkward!) that you are squeezing in. Worse yet is when you learn after the fact that there is another table at another level at which you’ve not been invited to participate. Ouch!
Perhaps you’ve never thought of positioning or being heard in this way, but now that it has been described, well…exactly how do you make a seat at the table a foregone conclusion?
Want to take your seat? Consider three key points:
1. What is your reason for being there? Just because there are ample chairs around the table, don’t assume you should occupy one. Ask yourself:
a. What do I contribute?
b. What am I known for?
c. What aspect may not be considered if I am not present?
2. Who knows you and knows items a. b. or c about you? It is not enough for you to have these insights – so must others who can invite you to the table.
a. Who are my connections?
b. Do they know this about me (see point 1 above)?
c. Have I raised my hand to contribute?
3. Am I clear enough in my purpose (see point 1) to recognize the opportunities to have my voice be heard?
a. Am I comfortable speaking?
b. Is my message clear?
c. Can I step up and into the opportunity?
Get crystal clear on Power Dynamics
- “I could really benefit if I could answer questions 1, 2 and 3!”
- “My team could really benefit!”
- “My whole organization could benefit!”
- CFA Society Houston
- CFA Society Dallas Fort Worth
- Amegy Bank
P.S. If you are a woman in business, check out How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith. You’ll find these same points addressed.
But it is so much more impactful in a hands-on, in-person presentation!