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Mastering Meeting Performance – The Formula One Female Engineer Used To Shift From Silent Observer To Influential Contributor

Written by: Jamie McKinney, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Jamie McKinney

Bring Jamie in. We need her take on this." As I overheard my name from outside my office door, I glanced up from the trends report that had been holding my attention. “I want to get her thoughts,” the CEO went on to say. I pushed back from my desk, smiling to myself, thinking how nice it was to be recognized and appreciated as a valued member of the executive team. You've sure come a long way, my inner voice chimed in, recalling times from early in my career when I sat in meetings, the lowest on the organizational chart, yet wanting so badly to contribute at a higher level. 


Two person having a conversation.

In addition to strategic networking, crafting homemade flashcards to boost my industry knowledge (nerdy? Perhaps, but effective!), and refining my public speaking skills, central to my transformation was use of the MPP Protocol. The formula I discovered ensured I wasn't merely a passive observer in meetings but an active and respected contributor, regardless of my position or the company in the room.


Today, I coach leaders and emerging leaders on deploying the MPP Protocol effectively. The following case study illustrates one woman’s triumph. 


A case study: Meet Sylvie


Sylvie, an engineer, is junior in her role, yet incredibly smart, motivated, and positioned for growth. Her stumbling block? Her voice lacks strength. She struggled to articulate her ideas in meetings. She sometimes lacked the ability to say anything at all, and never felt confident at times when she did, especially when surrounded by more seasoned colleagues. With the MPP Protocol in her tool kit, however, Sylvie's executive presence and influence transformed—and yours can too! Read on to discover the three-part formula she used to enter meetings feeling prepared and poised for respect and success.


The MPP Protocol: M – Mindset


You already recognize (I hope) the profound impact of mindset on outcomes. Start conditioning it well before your next meeting. Sylvie began by internalizing a daily mantra: "I belong." Previously, her inner dialogue in meetings reflected doubt—"They have more experience than I do; I have good ideas but fear sounding inept; I'm too young/female/inexperienced to contribute meaningfully." However, as she embraced the empowered belief that she belonged, her confidence blossomed. Armed with this mindset, she entered meetings not as a bystander, but as a valued contributor, ready to speak rather than simply listen and nod.


Thoughts become things,” as you’ll often hear mindset experts such as Elizabeth Laing and Marisa Peer emphasize to their clients. 


The MPP Protocol: P – Prepare 


Repeat after me… Proper preparation prevents poor performance. This simple step is often overlooked. That’s a risky mistake and fortunately, a very simple one to fix! 


The key? Craft your talking points in advance. I advocate for Soundbites—they help structure your thoughts and convey executive presence, particularly in high-stakes situations. For Sylvie, she focused on Situational Soundbites* tailored for meetings. She reviewed agendas, consulted meeting organizers, and crafted six strategic Soundbites: (2) key points, (2) high-gain questions, and (2) anticipated queries. Thoughtful preparation assuaged her fears of being put on the spot and reinforced her sense of belonging.


A notes on a paper.

The MPP Protocol: P – Practice


Ever notice how words in your head often sound different when spoken aloud, especially in front of intimidating stakeholders? Practice is your antidote. Practice saying what’s in your head out loud. Practice in the shower. Practice in your car. Practice with a friend, trusted colleague, or a coach. As Sylvie and I practiced together, we joked about embracing the awkwardness of role-playing to experience the awesomeness on the other side! 


From MPP to success meetings


Engineers appreciate a good formula just as bakers cherish a recipe. Prepared with the MPP Protocol, Sylvie approached her meeting with assuredness. The result? Not only did she deliver with confidence, but her performance garnered praise. "Sylvie, what's gotten into you?" the meeting leader asked outside of the meeting. A big smile crossed her face, “You’ve always been quiet and timid in meetings, but today, you were a whole new you! Keep it up. Your contributions are incredibly valuable. I was impressed and I know the client was too.” 


Empowered by her success, Sylvie has integrated the MPP Protocol into her meeting preparation routine. Her voice continues to grow stronger, as do her leadership opportunities. No longer content with being a mere individual contributor, she now seeks to lead teams. 


Take it from someone who once stumbled through the maze of career advancement: you don't have to navigate it alone. You belong too! Explore strategies like the MPP Protocol to amplify your presence and prove your worth early on. It's never too late to start, and you may be surprised at how swiftly you hear your name called upon from outside the hallway to share your insights and ideas.


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*Situational Soundbites – Succinct statements prepared in advance and delivered at strategic times to add value, demonstrate executive presence and influence, and project confidence.  


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Jamie McKinney Brainz Magazine
 

Jamie McKinney, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jamie Dandar McKinney, MBA, is an award-winning coach and the best-selling author of Speak Up, Sister! The Professional Woman's Guide to Confidence and Success. Recognized as an Emerging Training Leader and a Top Woman in Energy, Jamie jokes that her stilettos have steel toes. After two decades in male-dominated industries, Jamie mastered building confidence as deliberately as building muscle and leading with authenticity. Through her dynamic programs—The 3 Pillars of Leadership and Speak UP to Level UP®—she empowers you to ditch doubts, amplify your voice, and propel your career. Get ready for results with Coach Jamie championing you!

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