Let’s face it, meetings and conferences aren’t going to be the most fun and exciting thing you ever do in your life. It’s not up there with sky diving and jet skiing, but it’s an important part of the business lifestyle and just one of those things you have to do. You may not be able to get out of meetings, but you can certainly try and make the most of them. So, we’ve put together a handy guide of 5 ways to maximise your impact in a meeting and gain as much as possible.
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Before the meeting
Before the meeting begins, ensure you know what it is you’re about to go into. Meetings usually have some sort of end goal, so make sure you’re aware of what this is before you go in. Entering the room with a purpose encourages motivation and focus while you’re actually in there. It almost goes without saying but make sure you’ve had a substantial breakfast or lunch before you enter and are equipped with water, so you aren’t distracted thinking about the birthday cake in the break room.
During the meeting
Whilst in the meeting, make sure the speaker has your full attention, so switch off your phone and make sure you’re focused. Not only is it courteous to the person delivering the meeting but dipping in and out of the conversation only promotes boredom and further distraction. If you’re switched on from the start you have a better chance of staying focused.
Join the conversation
There’s nothing more stimulating than actually joining in with the discussion, and by asking questions and contributing, it also spurs on the person hosting the meeting. Don’t forget they may be a little nervous presenting so showing your engagement encourages them that things are going well. Also, you are more likely to take in and memorise the information discussed if you help to circulate ideas, which will be better for your work in the long run.
If there is no room for discussion in the meeting, make sure you take a laptop or good old-fashioned notepad and pen to record notes. Having a task to do whilst listening helps to prevent staring into space and zoning out, and you have points to refer to later. Additionally, if there’s anything you don’t understand and you don’t get a chance to clarify during the meeting, you can be sure to find out later.
Ensure your participation is needed
No matter how prepared you come and how focused you are, you can’t engage in a meeting if it’s simply not relevant. If you continually end up in meetings which you feel are no use to you, speak to someone about it and either gain an understanding of why you’re there, or opt-out altogether. You can then spend this time getting on with work that is applicable to you.