November 6, 2015 by ambermomin
“Yay, another meeting!” said no one ever. For the majority of us, meetings have become a common element of our professional and extra-curricular lives. In fact, an estimated 11 million formal meetings are held each day in the United States alone, but unfortunately, if not conducted properly, meetings can be a waste of time and money for all parties involved. Fortunately, we’ve gathered secrets from top business leaders on how to truly master meetings:
- Tip 1: Do Your Homework Before the Meeting
It’s very obvious if you come to a meeting unprepared. Be sure to do your homework before attending the meeting and look over all agenda items. If your supervisor hasn’t provided an agenda beforehand, be proactive and ask for one! Your initiative will surely be noticed and appreciated!
- Tip 2: Don’t Wait for Everyone to Show Up before Starting the Meeting
At every meeting, there’s always bound to be the person who shows up a few minutes late, every single time. Though it may seem like common courtesy to wait an extra five minutes for the late-comers to arrive, your meeting will be much more productive to start at its original set time. It’s quite simple: If you consistently start on time, people will begin to show up on time. When someone shows up late, don’t waste everyone else’s time by doing a recap; instead, catch up the person after the meeting is over. However, if it is absolutely vital to wait for the late-comer due to his or her key role in the meeting, let all other members know of an approximate start time so they can use that time effectively – checking email, running a quick errand around the office, or returning a phone call.
- Tip 3: Ban Smartphone Usage During the Meeting
If you’re leading the meeting, take active control of smartphone usage. If people are constantly texting or surfing social media, take a stand and ban cell phones from the meeting. Many leaders require all attendees to stack their cell phones at the center of the table; the first one to take a peek has to pay the bill at the next company lunch!
- Tip 4: Follow Up and Follow Thru After the Meeting
If you took on any tasks or projects during the meeting, be sure to send a follow up email to your supervisor after the meeting to seek clarification about the project responsibilities. Nothing is as unprofessional as promising to do a particular task during the meeting, but never following thru with it. It goes back to the age-old question, “You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” If anything, you certainly don’t want to be blacklisted by your co-workers as the person who doesn’t follow thru!
- Tip 5: Improve Your Body Language
Though maintaining proper body language during a meeting seems like common knowledge to most people, it’s unbelievable how big of an issue it actually is. When meetings pass the 20 minute mark, many attendees begin to lose focus, and their body language unintentionally beings to deteriorate. Common mistakes include: slouching into the chairs, not making eye contact with the speaker, doodling on notes instead of focusing on presentation, etc. Not only are these mistakes rude towards the presenter, but they can also come off as signs of disinterest.
Hopefully you can tackle your next meeting like a pro with these five tips! Stay tuned with our blog to get more insider information like this in the future!