“But … ,” you lament, “meetings are boring, uninspiring and a waste of time! Why should I bother?”
Here’s the answer: The reputation you create at meetings can easily improve or derail your career opportunities!
Be Part of the Solution
Successful people want to work with key contributors. They gauge your effectiveness by how well you prepare, participate and interact in meetings. They are a golden opportunity to shine in the spotlight, showcase your leadership skills and participate in reaching win-win decisions … all important ways to blaze a pathway to career success. Remember, you never know who is watching and listening, so always be ready!
10 Ways to Be a Positive Contributor
1.Show Up On Time. Be in your seat (or on the call) 5 minutes before the actual start time. Ask everyone to turn off electronic gadgets and put phones away to minimize distractions. If you are the facilitator or presenter, ensure the room is set up and conference calls and presentations are working before the scheduled time. Also, manage your agenda so you end on time.
2.Come Prepared. Read all documents, agendas and other materials before the meeting. Bring the information, along with written notes and questions, with you. Provide graphs and short summaries to participants prior to the meeting, and review them as a group. Note: When meetings drag on, it’s usually because attendees did not prepare. No decisions should be made without proper preparation.
3.Be Mentally Ready. Good leaders and active participants rehearse key points they want to make or questions they want to ask. They have role-played (even if it’s their mind) any concerns and pushback they believe will occur, and they are prepared to address them.
4.Leave Your Laptop Behind. It distracts both you and others around you from learning, according to research conducted by the University of Michigan. Researchers found that using paper and pencil to take notes is a better alternative!
5.Take Turns. Call each person by name and give them the opportunity to talk. Also, if you are not running the meeting, feel free to ask others for their input. Otherwise, people will feel bored and stifled, and that will limit the team’s ability to make the best decisions.
6.Encourage Differing Opinions. Respect all perspectives and value everyone’s input. Otherwise, your fear of possible conflicts and inability to manage them will sideline your career. (For further insight, read Do You Know How to De-escalate Conflict?)
7.Listen! This cannot be emphasized enough! When you play with electronic gadgets or multitask by doing other work, you miss out on important information. Actively listening is the best way to develop the insights to resolve issues and formulate new ideas for products and services. It’s a skill everyone must develop in their careers.
8.State Your Point Upfront. State your point first, then provide any supporting information to reinforce it by keeping it simple and staying focused. This will help you stay away from monologues, inappropriate gossip or sidebars, technical terms (aka jargon) or lengthy responses.
9.Ask Good Questions. Everyone is a valuable contributor in their own way. Drill down by using a positive tone of voice to clarify concerns and ask further questions. Then, build on their points and resolve their issues before moving forward. You usually won’t get to the real underlying concern without asking three or four clarifying questions.
10.Build Alignment. Align on decisions. Attempting to reach consensus is a waste of time, since it delays making decisions and encourages people to take sides without resolving the true issue. Questions to ask: Can everyone live with this decision? Is it workable and doable? If not, what needs to be added or changed so that everyone is on the same page moving forward?
The fastest way to build your career is to show up and positively contribute in every meeting.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2016-2017
Need a speaker or facilitator for your company’s management group? Have issues to address or conflicts to resolve that you have been avoiding? Contact Jeannette Seibly. She will provide confidential, laser-focused coaching that works!
Jeannette Seibly is celebrating 25 years as a business coach, advisor and consultant. Do you need to learn how to work together as a team to find the best solutions? Conduct effective meetings? Get out of your own way? Check out her website, or contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.