This blog post was contributed by guest blogger Robbin Beauchamp. My sincere thanks to Robbin for sharing her insights and expertise!
For many of us, they take valuable time away from completing actual tasks. Some people spend more time in meetings than at their desk or whatever place they accomplish their work. Sometimes, meetings can be stressful, especially if you feel like you can be spending your time differently.
Knowing how to have a positive impact in a meeting will not only save your colleagues time as you increase efficiency, but could help your career as you create a positive image of yourself.
Meetings are supposed to accomplish a few things, specifically:
- Share ideas, facts, figures, drawings
- Brainstorm ways to solve a problem
- Assign and/or complete tasks as part of a project or plan
- Create a strategy and timeline for a project
- Introduce new staff
- Teach new skills or provide information to meeting participants
Meetings should have an agenda and be led by one or two people. As a participant, you have specific duties that are usually never communicated explicitly. They are:
- Be punctual
- Be prepared to participate. Read the agenda before the meeting, if it has been made available. Read any materials that will be discussed in the meeting
- Turn off your cell phone and leave it face down on the table
W.A.I.T. Ask yourself “Why Am I Talking”?
There is usually a lot of discussion during a meeting and you may want to have your voice heard. W.A.I.T.! Ask yourself:
- Am I making meaningful contributions to the conversation?
- Am I speaking to complain? To brag? If the answer is “yes” to either, then don’t speak at all
- Am I moving the conversation forward?
- Is my comment applicable to most people at the meeting?
Think about what you are going to say before you say it. What is your personal agenda? Why are you sharing your thoughts? Refrain from speaking if you are regurgitating something that was already said. If you can provide further information to show the merit of a discussion point, do so.
Be clear. Be concise. Be strategic. Don’t speak just for the sake of speaking.
Don’t mumble, speak clearly so everyone can hear you.
Determine if there are deliverables that you are responsible to produce before the next meeting. If there are, be sure to share them with the participants before you next meet.
Following these suggestions will help you to become a valuable member of any team and will reduce the amount of time you and your peers spend at meetings!
Robbin Beauchamp is Director of Cooperative Education and Career Development at Wentworth Institute of Technology, a nonprofit technical design and engineering university in Boston, MA.
Robbin has more than 25 years of college career services and human resources experience. She is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator and has served on the board of the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers.
This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Cover photo courtesy © WOCinTechChat