Without your own model in your head, you have no personal interpretation of the situation and can only lean to other people’s positions.
Once, we were in a meeting where a bright and insightful project manager presented us with his proposal. Earlier, we already approved a high-level description, and today he was giving us more details. I have not expected surprises. PM broke down a large project into 5 smaller and explained the parts of that project. The logic was obvious (I mentioned he was bright, didn’t I?) I got no comments when he finished and was ready to greenlight a detailed description. And it was bothering me as I was not performing my expert function. Lucky me first to go was a more experienced expert, and he made a long comment that if put it shortly was ‘this is not WBS or PBS, there is no clear logic between large project work and results and its constituents. And everyone, including me, agreed with the expert; it really was a major flaw. I even didn’t need to say anything in addition because without fixing this mistake. There was no sense to proceed. I finally caught the reason for my doubts; I had no model in my head. Without my own model, I just used the model PM offered me during the presentation and applied it to his presentation, and it was ok (obviously).
I have not had my own position during the meeting because I have not uploaded the proper model in my head before the meeting. As I had no model, I could not construct my own situation from the facts and the data I was presented, and I couldn’t make my own reasoning and make suggestions. No model — no situation and its assessment, no position, it is as simple as that. And next thing, you’re just a puppet in other’s people games, not an independent agent with goals and plans.
So that brings us to a conclusion. If you go to the meeting where decisions should be made, be sure you have your own model ready to go. Your model is your intellectual weapon, and you cannot fight battles with bare hands. Or, if you don’t like the war metaphor, it is a tool, and you cannot do your job without one. Be sure you brought the right one, and be sure you change the model when it is time and place. And to do that, you need to have a lattice of models at the tip of your fingers. I recommend Roam Research with Zotero or Obsidian with Mendeley. And if you do have and use it properly, you will not be just another no-video icon in Zoom. People will remember you and follow your advice.