huffingtonpost.com

Hello? Is anyone listening? Have you ever felt like you are not being heard during meetings at work or that you're not even given the chance to participate? It can happen to anyone, but some people find it harder than others to get their point across. Frustrating? Indeed. Especially when you know you have valuable information to share that deserves the team's attention and consideration.

Before you throw in the towel and decide the fight just isn't worth it, understand that there are ways in which you can get your point across in meetings… and others will sit up and listen. It may take a few tries, but before you know it, you will become a pro at participation. Finally, your voice will be heard, and your ideas will become part of the big picture.

Prepare and Practice

unsplash.com

You'd likely practice before giving a presentation or speech, so why not put the same effort into what you would like to speak about at an upcoming meeting? You already have the agenda, so prepare beforehand with clear thoughts and a plan of action as to how you'll relay them. Not only will you be organized and ready to share, but you'll be better informed and caught up on business matters in general.

Forbes recommends, "Find a group outside of work where you can practice speaking or create your own group with friends and colleagues."

Be Front and Center

pexels.com

If you are already having issues with being heard during meetings, sitting off to the side or in the back of the room won't do you any favors. Jump right in and make yourself seen before you make yourself heard. You'll be noticed by others and right there amid the action.

As Goodwill notes, "Positioning yourself near the center not only puts you in the middle of the conversation flow, but also subliminally reinforces that you're central to the discussion at hand." Sit up straight and exude confidence.

Choose Your Words Wisely

unsplash.com

When you are among a large group, there is little time for beating around the bush or speaking without purpose or clarity. Time is money, and your words are valuable. Make sure what you contribute will move the needle. Don't speak up just so you do not feel left out.

Forbes suggests the use of "power language." "Get to the point and be clear about what you want." Forget the "maybes" and "what ifs." Confidence is power, and your words are your allies.

Ask Questions

pexels.com

You may not have something innovative to share at every meeting, but proving you are engaged in the discussion is important as well. Mindtools suggests "asking questions about what other attendees are saying. This shows you're attentive and interested."

By delving deep into the discussions and making sure you completely understand what's going on and what others' points of view are, you will be more informed and more likely to have something to bring to the table that others will want to absorb.

No Interruptions

It is inevitable that people will talk over one another during meetings, particularly as the head count goes up. Tact and respect can make this dynamic more palatable, but some people tend to be drowned out and steamrolled.

What to do? Speak up. If you are mid-thought, don't feel shy about asserting yourself and letting the team know that you're not done speaking. Goodwill suggests saying something along the lines of, "I'd love to hear your feedback, but wanted to finish saying one thing first." Your voice is just as important as everyone else's and you deserve your time to be heard.

Do you have advice for being heard in meetings? Which techniques have empowered you?

PayPath
Follow Us on

Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.

Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.

But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.

Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.

More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.

Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.

Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

Keep reading Show less