Q: Sometimes I feel invisible — I’ll say things and no one reacts, then someone else says the same thing and people respond. I don’t know if it’s me or them; what should I be doing differently?

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Q: Sometimes I feel invisible — I’ll say things and no one reacts, then someone else says the same thing and people respond. I don’t know if it’s me or them; what should I be doing differently?

A: Many factors could be at play here, and it’s worth some environmental scanning and self-assessment to figure out.

Start with a broad perspective, looking at the culture of your organization. What type of temperament receives the most rewards? If you’re quiet and reflective in an extroverted group, this type of outcome will be common. And it won’t be malicious — it’s an outcome of styles. On the other hand, if your company is very political and employees are given to stepping on each other to get ahead, trampling people in the way you describe could be a tactic. Realistically, what do you think is behind the behavior you’re observing?

Also consider if it occurs across environments. The more broadly it happens, the more likely there’s some behavior on your part that’s getting in your way. The focus of most of today’s column is on self-development; it’ll likely serve you well, regardless of culture or environment.

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So, take a look at yourself. If you had a camera, would you capture an image of someone who looks engaged and confident, or someone who is diffident or withdrawn? Regardless of the type of environment you’re in, the way you carry yourself is going to send a message.

Also think about the verbal image you communicate. Hesitance will be perceived as weakness, and you’ll be less likely to be taken seriously. I’m not talking about needing a moment to gather your thoughts; I mean a timid tone or words that minimize your contribution.

For example, I’ve heard many people say, “I was just going to say,” when they’re breaking into a conversation. This translates to, “don’t listen to me.”

I also hear many people, especially women, end statements with an uptone, as if asking a question. Again, this diminishes your authority. This is hard to note in yourself, and is a very serious issue. If you think it may be occurring with you, record yourself or ask a trusted colleague to help you monitor.

Building presence can be hard — no mistake about it. Once you’re clear on your opportunities to develop, set priorities, and don’t try to address everything at once. Use a mirror to practice body language; develop scripts and say them aloud to address speech patterns.

And don’t be hard on yourself about it. Everybody has habits they want to change, so give yourself credit for taking it on. Be sure to remain authentic as you’re evolving your style, too.

Now, the hard part — if you’re dealing with people who are trying to push you around, it’s time to speak up. If you make a comment that you think is important and it gets passed over, step into the conversation with something like, “before we move on, let me restate …” and reiterate your point.

This will help cement your image as someone who warrants attention. And if you’re being run over because your political ship has sailed, at least you’ll be standing up for yourself as you consider next steps.

Submit questions to Liz Reyer at liz@deliverchange.com.