When Your Business Puts Barriers in Your Way

A few weeks ago, I wrote about “Solving Your Public Speaking Roadblocks.” While all of us are more than capable of erecting our own roadblocks, many businesses are also quite adept. Plainly put, some organizations are dinosaurs. They don’t adapt well to change and they certainly don’t encourage underlings to outshine the brass. You have probably worked for an organization like this. I know I have.

Your leaders may not give you license to soar. They may deny you speaking opportunities for which you are perfectly suited. The boss may be jealous of your abilities, both in your presentation skills and your knowledge of the subject matter. There may be corporate infighting involving your department. You could be denied access to information you need to make your presentation meaningful for your audience.


You face many difficulties when your own outfit puts obstacles in your path. Short of a management shakeup, the best advice in many instances is to get out. But that is not always practical, especially when job markets are tight.

There are volumes galore about teamwork and how to approach your managers written by individuals far more versed than I in that area (and don’t get me started on the current fad about teams; sometimes they make sense, sometimes not; but that’s fodder for another day). What I can tell you is you need to find a means of overcoming these barriers to the best of your abilities.

For instance, if one department denies you critical information (and assuming this information is not subject to privacy concerns), seek out help from another department. Perhaps someone is purposely keeping your boss out of the loop because of an internal squabble. Create your own loop. Or try searching the office intranet. Such networks are often rich with unimagined tidbits.

If your manager refuses to let you deliver presentations for whatever reason—such as jealousy or insecurity—generate your own opportunities outside of the workplace. Speak before groups to which you belong such as professional associations and service clubs. Ask friends and associates to keep you in mind for speaking opportunities that come across their radar screens. Special hint: Advertising your availability as a last-minute substitute for a no-show presenter makes you a true hero in the eyes of an event’s organizers.

Be as assertive and creative as you can. Solutions may not be easy. But you can often find a workaround for seemingly impossible organizational hurdles.



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