When you’re not invited to a meeting, it’s easy to point the finger and blame others for overlooking you, but that typically won’t get you the invitation. Ultimately, the responsibility is yours to prove why you should be in the room. To secure a seat at the table, tailor your tactic to the situation.
Your ego will be bruised the moment you get to know that you are not invited to a meeting. But, ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly:
- Do you really need to be there?
- Is it a core member meeting?
- Is the focus of the meeting related to your team or work you do?
- Is there a team representative already there in the list of invitees?
Chances are that you will be able to talk yourself out of your anxious state. If you are still not satisfied, speak to a colleague who is on the list to check about the agenda. Eventually you will know if your being there makes sense or not.
- Build your case
Your boss goes to all the meetings and leaves you out? Set aside time to talk with him or her about your goals, directly stating your interest in attending specific meetings, and ask what you can do to demonstrate your value. Ask your boss if there are projects you can work on that would help you be included in those meetings.
If you find out that there isn’t enough representation from your team or you should be involved in the discussion because it is critical for the project then you should start building your case. Be prepared to answer the question in a non-self-aggrandising manner. Don’t say: “I should have been sent an invite too” or “why wasn’t I sent the invite”. Instead gather your thoughts and say, “do you think someone from [insert department] be present” or “It will be great to have from [insert your department]. Your concern should be for the organization and the decisions that are going to be made in the meeting and not you. Your response should highlight expertise, perspective and information that can you or your team member will add to the discussions.
2. Stay neutral
You have a peer who is intentionally excluding you? Set up a time to have a conversation with your colleague about the pattern you’re observing. When you explain why you should be in those meetings, focus on the business reasons, not your personal interests.
You have got to learn to keep emotions at bay. The list of attendees may have people who you get along or not with, but that shouldn’t be the reason why you should check why you aren’t being invited. Don’t say ‘[insert name] is invited, but not me!’ It should barely be of any consequence. Focus on the agenda and not people. Steer the conversation to why it makes sense for you to be present in the meeting. This shows your level of maturity and gain respect from colleagues and managers.
3. Become indispensable
You aren’t on the organizer’s radar screen? Start by asking yourself whether you are spending enough time developing strong relationships with your co-workers. Getting to know your colleagues increases the chances that they’ll be more aware of your value. If there’s a specific meeting you’re targeting, make clear to your manager that you’re interested in joining and make yourself useful.
Everyone works their way up the corporate ladder by making their presence felt at work. And, this can be done by doing exceptional work and being engaged with colleagues. You were probably not invited because you are still under the shadow of your boss or you lack knowledge or you don’t take initiatives. What you must do is muster courage and stop working in a silo, especially if you are a newbie. Start speaking to people at work; offer help and be heard. Do you think you can help a colleague with your wizard PowerPoint or Adobe Illustration skills? Then just say it! Figure out what you can do best and be in the limelight.
4. Talk to your supervisor
If you feel you are being kept out of meeting without any reasonable explanation then speak to your boss. There are times when they may have deliberately kept you out of these meetings because you are already over-burdened with other tasks and projects. Or there was someone already talking about a marketing campaign or sales analysis and they didn’t want to double the headcount by sending you too. Now, before you go to your boss, make sure you are up-to-date with your work and are not asking for a pile of work you won’t be able to cope with.
If you see, you have to learn and unlearn a few things. You can’t expect to be invited to every meeting just because you think so. You have to carefully evaluate not just your emotions, but the circumstances as well. So, next time you find out you weren’t invited, don’t become a crybaby and waste time being irrational. Such situations demand you being realistic. Shouldn’t you become one?
Check out my related post: How to make your team listen to you?