By: Ken Boone
The other day, I had the pleasure of contributing to a conference call. It was the second in a series of calls with this group of people doing good work. The group consisted of individuals who had multiple letters after their names, and yours truly.
The first call didn't go so well in my estimation. Although there wasn't any bluster coming from the participants, there was an air of "things need fixing and I know how best to fix them". That resulted in a lot of reinventing of the wheel.
There were a lot of monologues with very little natural gaps for others to interject. There were very few opportunities for me to add to the discussion, which left me feeling frustrated.
We are all caught having to adjust our way of living almost on the fly. Most face-to-face encounters have been replaced by Zoom, Google Hangouts, Go To Meeting, and WebEx platforms. Webinars and podcasts are now the new norm.
While I respect the professional accomplishments of the individuals on those calls, I needed to be able to remind them that webinars and podcasts are in my wheelhouse. I can do them in my sleep and have done the research. But the people with the letters behind their names insisted on telling me what to do, even when I was already doing those things on a daily basis.
I try to be a team player. I grew up playing team sports. I sang in a choir. I was in a number of bands. I could go on forever. I was also conditioned to defer to the judgment of others, even when I had the solution. So much so that when I insisted on getting my point across, I typically did so with very little tact.
As I mentioned a number of times in both my blog as well as my podcast, it took me too long to earn my college degree. And I only earned one. I made a lot of excuses for not finishing, but the main reason was that I was simply afraid. I thought that my brain cells that I used for learning had simply died off. Maybe my chronic truancy in high school brought me to that conclusion.
The 1957 classic movie "12 Angry Men" was a courtroom drama starring Henry Fonda. One of the jurors was an ad man by trade, meaning that he came equipped with a vocabulary dripping in the latest buzz words. Having the other jurors convinced that he was wise, it wasn't until he couldn't make a decision that the others realized that he was all talk and no action.
I, too, would used my perceived lack of credentials convince myself that I had nothing to contribute to that call. even remained silent when they tried to state "facts" about the structure of podcasts, a subject that I've learned and practiced quite a bit about.
I stewed about the slights for a few days, which was far too long. After getting up the nerve to calmly voice my frustrations, I was convinced by allies to push back when I knew a fact was being misrepresented. I was told that I was the expert on most the topics discussed in this series of meetings.
This brings us to the conference call of the other day. I listened respectfully, pushed back appropriately, and felt a part of a productive call. I was listened to. I was deferred to. My input was needed and welcomed.
When the call ended, I rushed to the nearest mirror to give my reflection a piece of my mind. I told myself that I was just as valid as anyone else. I also reminded my reflection that if I felt intimidated by other, more impressive folks, I could borrow a time-honored technique used by successful people and great impostors the world over. I would just "fake it until I make it"!
About the Author
As owner of the Descant Music & Media Group, Ken is a creator and producer of several podcast shows. He is also a music producer, as well as a writer and an accountant for small businesses and nonprofits.