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How to Tactfully Interject in a Virtual Meeting

By Melody Wilding for Harvard Business Review


Picture it — you’re on a call with a few colleagues and your boss, discussing a project you’re heavily involved with. Although you have thoughts to share, you can’t seem to get a word in edgewise. Dialogue ping-pongs between your manager and coworkers until the meeting ends. Despite your intentions, you couldn’t seem to politely interject. You log off feeling defeated and frustrated with yourself for failing to insert your ideas.

This is a common occurrence, especially in the age of distributed teams. Because for all its benefits, remote work can pose challenges. Studies have found that virtual communication has caused collaboration to become more siloed and has reduced idea generation. The impact is even more profound for certain groups. In a survey of over 1,100 working professionals, 45 percent of women said it’s difficult to speak up in virtual meetings and one in five said they’ve felt ignored or overlooked by colleagues during video calls.

My client, Heidi, a marketing director at a sports company, found herself in this predicament when her team switched back to working in the office, while she remained working from home. Despite her deep subject matter expertise, Heidi would overthink and put a lot of pressure on herself to make a “high value” contribution, which often held her back from speaking at all. Heidi was also exceedingly courteous. She never wanted to be perceived as pushy or rude. These tendencies, combined with being remote, led Heidi to getting overlooked for a promotion, because she wasn’t seen and heard as much as her counterparts.

There are many reasons why you may want to interject during a virtual meeting. You may be offering a perspective, providing an update, correcting a perception, asking for clarification, or trying to keep your team on track. Here are some ideas I shared with Heidi that can help you interject with tact, too.  For more, click here.

Free Stock photo by Vecteezy

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