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|Thursday, September 20, 2012|
BY TOM COX
But what if you’re not leading the meeting — what if you’re just suffering through it?
Here is what any of us can do to participate more fully in a meeting — and by doing so, make it better for everyone.
When I started participating “more fully” in meetings, two things happened — I became more valuable, and meetings stopped being as boring.
Here are the seven things I do when I’m on my “A” game in a meeting:
1. Pay complete attention
Here’s how to do each.
Pay complete attention
And you won’t miss key details.
Capture floating ideas and associations on a notepad
Example: Jo needs to fix the web site’s site map, and you vaguely remember that someone just offered a free white paper on that topic. Write “Jo needs to fix site-map” on your notepad.
Convert ideas into next actions or delete
Do I have some intention around this? (If not, this is either reference material or trash.)
What is the desired outcome? (Write that outcome in the margin – this becomes your goal statement.)
If so, is it mine to act on? (If not, delegate to the right person and put this item on my “Follow Up Later” list.)
Example: Decide you’re going to find and forward to Jo the white paper on fixing site-maps. Write “Fwd site map fix white paper to Jo by 5 pm today” under “Actions for Me.” When it’s your turn to speak, briefly tell Jo and get your commitment into the meeting minutes.
Bonus: If nobody is taking minutes, keep your own tally of “Who will do What by When” (a.k.a. Standard Goal Language) and share it with everyone in an email afterward.
Contribute something to every meeting, even if it’s just agreement
If you simply agree, say so. Your coworkers will feel supported and will be more positively disposed toward you, and your boss will see you as someone who is listening and who contributes.
Map the room with names, and periodically memorize them
Meet and greet new people (and old)
For many of your colleagues, this is where they form their opinion of you, and this subconsciously influences how much they want to open up to you, do you favors, or reach out to you. A polite greeting makes a great first (and repeated) impression.
Notice who else is there and whether they contribute – encourage them
Bonus – note down next to their name the point each person made, or their major concern. By understanding their concerns, you can greatly increase your ability to connect with them.
What tricks do you use to keep yourself effective during meetings?
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