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6 foolproof tips for making a great impression at work meetings

Posted by Neha De

November 12, 2021    |     4-minute read (697 words)

The average employee spends 5.6 hours each week in meetings, reveals a Microsoft survey, of which 69% of respondents feel meetings aren’t productive. And even though $37 billion is lost to unproductive meetings every year, according to research, they are still important. Meetings can either be the bane of one’s daily productivity or an opportunity to set oneself apart from others.

One of the most notable findings of the report is the surge in time spent in meetings in recent months. It shows that the number of daily meetings increased by 26% in 2020, from 3.36 meetings a day in 2019 to 4.24 meetings a day in 2020.

Check out these six simple techniques to get noticed at every meeting: 

  1. Ask for an agenda in advance and prepare for the meeting: Most meetings fall under three broad categories: to make a decision, collect information for a decision or simply share information. Essentially, the goal of a meeting should be to serve a purpose. And if attendees are not aware of the agenda of a meeting, it is bound to end up being unproductive. Without a purpose, discussions have no structure and seldom end up with the intended outcome. Therefore, one of the most basic techniques to get noticed in meetings is to come prepared by asking for the agenda in advance.

  2. Insist on punctuality: Nova Scotian politician, judge and author Thomas Chandler Haliburton once said, “Punctuality is the soul of business.” 

  3. Starting a meeting late is a waste of everyone’s time — it also gives off the vibe that one individual’s time is more valuable than everyone else’s. One good way to ensure punctuality is to start the meeting on time, irrespective of whether all attendees are present or not. And if someone is late, let them miss out. This could be a great incentive for them to show up on time going forward.
  1. Think about your body language: A person’s body language communicates their level of interest. So, to offer colleagues the respect they deserve, sit up straight and make eye contact while speaking (as well as listening). Keep your feet flat on the floor in order to avoid slouching. And if someone is speaking up in front of a large group of people (can be nerve wracking for some), don’t forget to make eye contact, nod and smile at them.

  2. Don’t be a yes-person: French philosopher Michel de Montaigne rightly said, “There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.” 

  3. If the purpose of a meeting is to make a decision, the goal should be to come up with the best idea and not the most-liked one. Many times, people don’t speak up and try to preserve the status quo in order to avoid conflict and upset people. This often leads to bad decision-making.

    Productive conflict plays an essential role here. It is when one person asserts their position and defends it, even if it is not the most popular one — productive conflict is not about belligerent arguing. This can also be a great way of bringing an idea to light that others may be thinking of but are unable to (or willing) to articulate.
  1. Encourage the underdog: Research has shown that often, people cannot distinguish between an expert and the loudest person in a meeting. When this happens, the loudmouth coworker can end up taking over everyone else’s time, even though they have no idea what they are talking about. 

  2. So, if someone is not allowing others to offer their own opinions, it is a good idea to jump in and ask about their perspectives. The more people feel that their ideas matter and will be heard, the more likely they will be to offer them.
  1. Navigate to the next action: At times, a meeting ends up in a vicious circle of ineffectiveness where everyone is only talking about the problem, while offering no resolution. In addition to wasting time, this normalizes inactivity. If this happens, it is acceptable to interrupt the meeting and ask everyone about the next steps, in order to get the conversation back on track. 

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