Vincy Workplace
November 19, 2004
Meeting Savvy

Jack was not interested in what his new boss had to say and couldn’t care about the meeting so he positioned his chair to look out the window and refused to participate. His supervisor warned him about his disrespectful behaviour but it made no impact as he was angry after he was overlooked for the position his new supervisor ultimately received. Jack refused to change; two more meetings like that and he was ultimately fired. {{more}}

When you attend team meetings, are you using the opportunity to shine or are you shying away and hoping for it to end. Your behaviour at organizational meetings is shaping your career and you may not even be aware of it.

Without a doubt some meetings can be very boring, but a savvy business professional knows that with the right timing, their performance at a meeting can cause upper management to sit up and take notice.

As in any area, there is protocol to follow in meetings. Never assume the seat at the head of the table if you are not leading the meeting and know that the front row is usually reserved for dignitaries and company officials in large formal meetings. Since your seat impacts your ability to participate and be seen, especially in large settings, arrive early so you choose wisely.

If the meeting allows time for input, by all means give your opinion, offer suggestions but do not monopolize the discussion. Think about what you want to say then say it with confidence, be clear and very concise. Meetings often get stuck when one individual hijacks a discussion and makes it impossible for others to participate; make sure you are not that person.

Your body language during meetings should be positive. Watch your posture and avoid doodling, passing notes, or making faces with colleagues especially when someone you disagree with is speaking. Avoid folding your hands across your body, as that is an immediate sign that you are no longer interested in what’s being said.

Prior to the meeting you should review materials, the agenda if available or any pertinent documents that can help you to be a contributor. Bring paper, a pen and a great attitude and be sure to arrive on time. Have a beverage to help you stay awake and try not to disturb the session with unnecessary noises.