1. I will repeat exactly what you just said so everyone knows I am listening and very much involved in the conversation. If I repeat your words back to you in my voice, that is weighing in.
2. I will say things like, “You make a good point — maybe we should open that up to the group” if I don’t understand what you’re saying or am unsure if you asked a question? Still, I’m weighing in.
3. “What kind of metrics do we have?” — A solid gold weigh-in.
4. Being aware of the time and announcing that I understand everyone is busy and some people have hard stops isn’t just polite — that’s me weighing in.
5. I will list all the people I’ve pinged in the last hour and will offer to ping more.
6. If there’s a conversation lull, I will bring up a headline I scanned in my inbox — probably about cage-free eggs, the stock market, or China — and somehow relate that to the difference between a track meet and a marathon as we address our client’s key business challenges while appealing to the right audience in the right way at the right time, and also this seems like it’s going to require a multi-pronged, lockstep approach.
7. I will turn every goddamn person’s attention back to the brief.
8. It’s always a good time to say I don’t mean to play devil’s advocate, even if I’m not sure I’m playing devil’s advocate.
9. When I say, “I want to take a second to unpack this,” understand that I am going to repeat exactly what you just said back to your face because, again, this is a great opportunity for me to put your words in my voice but this time I’m adding some of my words up front.
10. “That begs the question!” Yes — yes, it does.
11. I will bring up social media and video strategy by saying, “What about social media and video strategy?” This is something I learned from Steve G.
12. I will ask about Donna’s vacation and hope that she recently went on vacation. If she’s not in the room, I will knock over my water bottle and go get paper towels… and Donna.