In my view this applies to our careers also. Over the past twenty five plus years of my professional career, I have been in many meetings and countless discussions. You always have at least one person who has strong views and a loud voice dominating the conversation and throttling the voice of those who can add real value.
Frankly, I used to be one of those folks whose voices gets drowned in this cacophony. Any attempts to over come this disruption met with defeat. So I had to change my tactic. Instead of fighting, I kept quiet till the "decision" was nearly made and then asked one question which shook the team assumptions. Very quickly, I became the quiet guy who knew his stuff ! People stopped the conversation and asked me for my thoughts ! The big stick of knowledge and experience finally had a place
Since then, I have grown both personally and professionally. I now lead the conversation and discussions. I am the facilitator and have no problems in guiding the thought process. I never forget those initial days and how I built my reputation, brick by brick !
Lot of the team members I coach, have similar problems. They have lot of great ideas but lack the presence to deliver it with conviction. So I help them not only to voice their opinions, but also help them build their reputation - slowly but surely !
So in this tip actually consists of two parts :
1. You do not have to talk loudly or have a presence to get your contributions accepted by your peers (Speak Softly)
2. Your knowledge of the subject will in the end triumph (Carry the big stick of deep knowledge)
Tip #2: Speak Softly and carry a Big Stick !