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Today we had two meetings; our initial IT meeting and then a secondary IT meeting which the company President was joined in on. During our initial meeting, we went over our projects and pipeline of items we are each working on or beginning over the next couple weeks. When the President came in for the second meeting, we mostly just rehashed major items and he provided some additional concerns on projects as they applied to specific people, of which I was not one of those people. At the end of the meeting, he says "This was a great meeting! :), just one thing. Zack didn't say anything. Who has a meeting and doesn't speak?". Mind you in the prior meeting the president did not attend I spoke quite a bit.

I'm of the thought process that if I'm not addressed directly, the subject matter is not in my breadth or functional area and any input I give would be nothing more than a contribution of words and no real value, why should I add or say anything that isn't going to help? I typically don't engage in idle "shoot the breeze" chatter either.

  • Did you organize the meeting? If not, who did? – djohnson10 Oct 15 '15 at 21:01
  • I did not organize the meeting. The IT director organized it. – Pac2015 Oct 15 '15 at 21:03
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    From the President's comments it seems clear that he/she thought it was your meeting. In a case like this, try to be cheerful/upbeat and make everyone laugh by saying something witty. Regardless of whether you were right or wrong for not speaking, you're judged by others by how you react to situations. – Michael Blankenship Oct 15 '15 at 21:14
  • The thing to say is: "What else is there to say, except, we're done." – Mohair Oct 15 '15 at 22:32
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    Why don't you ask him? – user8365 Oct 16 '15 at 2:28
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You've been given a gentle hint that you probably have insights, opinions, and reactions worth sharing, and that doing so can both contribute to the meeting and help people remember you as someone worth working with and listening to. And that can be good for your career.

If you really have nothing to say that will advance the meeting, don't say it... but if you, don't be timid about speaking up.

(This is something I need to work on too... which sometimes surprises folks who only know me via writing.)

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It sounds to me that the president likes you but wants you to take more of a leadership role. I would take this as a serious jab that you need to step up your game. He obviously values your input because he is expecting it.

Is every person supposed to speak in a meeting? NO!

Is a person whose input is valued supposed to speak when it is an important topic? YES!

Even if it as simple as agreeing with someone after they said something. If I were in your position though I would have started the meeting summarizing the meeting before (in 10-20 seconds) and then saying that you will let others drill down on their specific topics.

In summary - think you are fine but president has higher expectations of you (that is good) and you need to step it up.

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  • I want to prefix I'm not making an excuse to your response and its appreciated. I just want to say my only reason for not summarizing the meeting before is because usually the director of IT does that and I'm just the developer who the President comes to for integrations and pivotal items, not help desk related items. In official management structure it goes President>>>Director of IT>>>Developer>>>HelpDesk IT Support staff. – Pac2015 Oct 15 '15 at 21:25
  • I am a IT manager. If there are software/coding changes our VPs would want to hear from me. If there were strategic ways of doing things going forward they may want to hear from me or my boss (director). So hierarchy doesn't necessarily imply who speaks, it also depends on subject. – blankip Oct 15 '15 at 21:39
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Who should speak in meetings is something affected by corporate culture. I have worked places when everyone except seniors were supposed to keep their mouths shut (and quietly tell their boss what they wanted said) and places where everyone was expected to contribute and pretty much everywhere in between.

That said, the CEO clearly gave you a signal that, in his eyes, he wants to hear from everyone. So in this workplace, I would make more of an effort to speak when the CEO is present.

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