How do you handle rejection gracefully
How can I gracefully interrupt others and take the opportunity to speak?
Different groups of people have different communication channels. In some groups, everyone is expected not to speak while someone else is speaking, but to wait until there is a pause where it is easy to fit in. In other cases, everyone is expected to meddle and break in while the previous person speaks, as long as you stay on the same path. Other times, cutting off the conversation and taking it over is just what everyone does, and if you're waiting for a "good moment," you'll never utter a word.
Neither of these ways is wrong in itself, but once you are used to one style it can be difficult to adapt to another when you join a new group. It seems to me that you are most comfortable with the first variety, and your employees are of the second or third variety. It would be nice if the boss / moderator / person in charge of the meeting could make sure everyone is heard, but they may not even know there is trouble. (If you are the leader of a group or meeting, keep that in mind and try to do better!)
How to interrupt
I'll answer the second question first - how to get in there gracefully. My advice is to see how other people do it. Are you interrupting? Are they making gestures to get everyone's attention? Do you lean forward and say "um, yes, I think so too ..."? There is going to be some kind of unwritten rule or standard here - you have to find out what it is. Once you have done this, you can apply this rule to yourself. If it's okay with her, it means it's okay with you.
How to get the confidence to speak
The first question is more difficult. It's easy to say you need more confidence, but it's hard to get there ... is there anyone in the group you are comfortable with? If so, could you speak to them after meeting them? Think of one point you wanted to bring up during the meeting and bring it up - something like, "Oh, after the meeting I had to think about the screwdrivers - what do you think about reversing the polarity?" You get feedback on your idea without it being in front of a dozen people. You'll also build a relationship and reputation - the next time you're in a meeting they'll be helpful from the start as they already have a good opinion of your ideas.
At this point, every time you go to a meeting and say nothing, it will be harder to say something. You build a huge decision out of this. The only way to get by is through - make up your mind to only say one thing. It doesn't have to be brilliant, it just has to be one thing you said. If you can do that, you have won . One thing can be as brief as, "I think what Jim said is very interesting." At this point, your goal is to break the silence.
Next time, go for two things. After a few meetings where you've actually spoken, speaking becomes less of a hurdle. Then you can think about content - your own ideas. You are used to the style of the conversation and can focus on your thoughts rather than the situation.
You should also remember that most people don't even know that talking makes you uncomfortable. They will be too busy wondering if what they are saying is smart or stupid, or if they have missed something that is obvious to everyone else, or if maybe they should have just shut up. They just can't see it by looking at them - nor can they see it by looking at you. You will spend so much energy worrying about what impression you are making that there is very little time left to judge you.
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