6 Tips on Improving Your Meeting Experiences
We are all subject to meetings throughout life, work, community, committee even family. Meetings can be a source of dread if you don’t feel comfortable speaking up. Here are some tips on how to get the most of your meetings.
1. Be Prepared – If the outline of the objective of the meeting is not clear, ask in advance. Determine what the goals are, what needs to be discussed and what needs to be decided upon. Getting this information in advance will allow you time to do research, collect materials and meditate on what your thoughts and positions are on the tasks at hand. This will give you more confidence in speaking up and contributing your (valuable) insights and ideas.
2. Pick a Partner – Look at the list of attendees, and casually chat with one or two about the upcoming meeting. If you have ideas you are interested in floating, their feedback will be helpful. When you go to speak, you can always invite them to join the conversation by starting with “Carol and I had a quick chat, and thought that…..”. It’s a great way to get people more engaged in the meeting and therefore be more productive.
3. Throw your hat in the ring! – Don’t get benched by your own fears or insecurities. Having done steps 1 and 2 you know you have something to contribute. Even if it is to ask for more clarity or question the objective. You may be raising good points that hadn’t been considered, or will learn why the goals and processes are what they are. Either way it is a win-win, and you will raising the knowledge base of everyone else who may not have really known either.
4. Follow Up – If you have been assigned a task that is dependent on someone else completing something or providing some information don’t necessarily wait until you hear from them. Everyone is busy and being pulled in lots of directions. A friendly note or phone call will help you determine when you will receive what you need to accomplish your contributions. This is really important. By doing so you create a reputation for being diligent and an active participant. People will be looking to you for future projects opening up more opportunities!
5. Meet Deadlines – This should be a no-brainer, but it is easy to get caught up in perfectionism to the point of missing a deadline. This can mean the project, opportunity or task is no longer relevant or required. You will have wasted your time and lose credibility. If you do miss a deadline, own up to it immediately with an apology and offer ways to rectify the situation. If you suspect you will miss one let the team know and ask for assistance.
6. Listen – Listen closely to what people are saying. Learn about what they are working on, what interests them or what their special skills and abilities are. You will know who to reach out to when you need to build a team for your own projects!