Working on being your best self and smashing your own success means you either own your meetings or you don’t. You either sit in, studiously taking notes and don’t let your voice be heard, or you come prepared with ideas of your own, know exactly what the meeting is about and are ready to be actively engaged, no matter how much time it takes out of your day. With that in mind, here are a few tips to make sure you smash every meeting, focus on your own success and let your performance speak for itself:
Ask the right questions
Meetings can get sidetracked really easily. If you have a lot of questions that are sort of related to the meeting but could easily end up diverting the entire purpose to something else, you need to be smart. You can say: “I know this might be a diversion but I was wondering if we could discuss X at some point, maybe in our next meeting?” This shows consideration for whoever is holding the meeting and allows them to decide if your unrelated question should be discussed now or added to an email or the next meeting’s agenda.
Bring some power to your meetings
It is easy to say that you’ve all done it. The best way to stay on track would be to do quick eye contact checks. Every few minutes, make eye contact with the speaker and nod to affirm that you’re listening. Your body language should look engaged and interesting. While you don’t quite need to do the superman pose to show that you’re feeling powerful and alert, you should sit up straight, uncross your arms and show how interested you are.
Take smarter notes
Your note taking system is all wrong. If you want to make the most out of any meeting, you should start by learning how to take notes faster, so you have a more accurate list of what’s going on. You don’t have to learn shorthand, but you can create a series of symbols and cut out words to create your own note-taking system.
End on a high
You can end your meeting (without seeming like you have to have the last word) by simply repeating the tasks you need to do, or things you need to research. Later on, you can tell the person who hosted the meeting some of the key takeaways you got from the meeting and thank them. Obviously, you don’t have to do this every time, but it’s a great thing to do for someone who’s holding a first time meeting, or someone who gave a great deal of research.
Do not be the last to know
This is the reason why you need a desk pad. As long as you have that meeting written down and have used the notes sections to do a bit of research, you’re in the clear. If you know the meeting is on a certain topic, why not get ahead and read up. If it’s a weekly meeting, have something to say in it too. You want to set yourself up for success and be known as someone who tackles meetings head on, so always be prepared.
By Damilola Faustino
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