• 'Yippee, I've got a two hour meeting.' Not something you hear very often. But while meetings can be tedious, they are also your opportunity to show everyone how great you are. And we're going to show you how.

    'Yippee, I've got a two hour meeting.' Not something you hear very often. But while meetings can be tedious, they are also your opportunity to show everyone how great you are. And we're going to show you how.

  • SHOULD YOU EVEN BE THERE?  It's hard to look good if you don't know what you're supposed to be talking about. Ask the person who invited you what's expected from you, says Ian Gooden, chief executive of HR practice Chiumento. 'As well as telling you whether you're really needed, it means you won't arrive and be outflanked.'

    SHOULD YOU EVEN BE THERE? It's hard to look good if you don't know what you're supposed to be talking about. Ask the person who invited you what's expected from you, says Ian Gooden, chief executive of HR practice Chiumento. 'As well as telling you whether you're really needed, it means you won't arrive and be outflanked.'

  • COME PREPARED:  You need to know what you're talking about. 
'Look at the agenda and identify and think about the important issues,' says Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School. 'Gather all the data you'll need so you're ready if challenged.'

    COME PREPARED: You need to know what you're talking about. 'Look at the agenda and identify and think about the important issues,' says Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School. 'Gather all the data you'll need so you're ready if challenged.'

  • PIPE DOWN:  'Don't hog the meeting,' says Cooper. 'Save interventions for when you have something meaningful to say. Quality is more important than quantity.'

    PIPE DOWN: 'Don't hog the meeting,' says Cooper. 'Save interventions for when you have something meaningful to say. Quality is more important than quantity.'

  • TAKE NOTES:  Write down anything you consider significant. It shows people you are listening and means you aren't dependent on somebody else's version of what was said.

    TAKE NOTES: Write down anything you consider significant. It shows people you are listening and means you aren't dependent on somebody else's version of what was said.

  • BE POSITIVE:  Avoid criticising other participants and come up with solutions, advises Cooper. 'The meeting is an opportunity to get people to back you, but they won't if you alienate them.'

    BE POSITIVE: Avoid criticising other participants and come up with solutions, advises Cooper. 'The meeting is an opportunity to get people to back you, but they won't if you alienate them.'

  • READ THE ROOM:  It's important to understand the agenda of other participants and whether you can speak freely. 'This requires a degree of political awareness,' says Gooden. 'Are you really free to say what you think?'

    READ THE ROOM: It's important to understand the agenda of other participants and whether you can speak freely. 'This requires a degree of political awareness,' says Gooden. 'Are you really free to say what you think?'

  • HAVE A POINT OF VIEW:  Sitting on the fence won't score you any points, says Gooden. To create impact you need a strong viewpoint. 'People can always tell if you believe in what you are saying, so speak with passion,' he says.

    HAVE A POINT OF VIEW: Sitting on the fence won't score you any points, says Gooden. To create impact you need a strong viewpoint. 'People can always tell if you believe in what you are saying, so speak with passion,' he says.

  • WATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE:  Sitting hunched in your chair, trying to take up minimal space is a no-no. Be confident, sit tall, and claim your space at the table to show you are confident in your abilities. Avoid crossing your arms in front of you, as this demonstrates an unwillingness to communicate. Remember to smile.

    WATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE: Sitting hunched in your chair, trying to take up minimal space is a no-no. Be confident, sit tall, and claim your space at the table to show you are confident in your abilities. Avoid crossing your arms in front of you, as this demonstrates an unwillingness to communicate. Remember to smile.

  • DITCH THE VISUAL AIDS:  Do you really need to give that PowerPoint presentation, or print out all those pages? Say what you need to say, and send the supporting documents over via email.

    DITCH THE VISUAL AIDS: Do you really need to give that PowerPoint presentation, or print out all those pages? Say what you need to say, and send the supporting documents over via email.

  • PRETEND TO AGREE... THEN DISAGREE:  'Good point.' 'That's a really interesting issue.' These are all phrases that let you disagree with someone without overtly challenging a colleague. Remember that people don't like to be wrong, so let them think they were half right.

    PRETEND TO AGREE... THEN DISAGREE: 'Good point.' 'That's a really interesting issue.' These are all phrases that let you disagree with someone without overtly challenging a colleague. Remember that people don't like to be wrong, so let them think they were half right.

  • SPEAK FIRST (OR LAST):  Don't be afraid to speak first, especially in meetings where there is likely to be opposition to your idea. Studies show that a meeting's attendees are more likely to remember the first speaker or presenter than the ones who follow. However, in long meetings, a late intervention can be effective because it stays in people's minds after the meeting.

    SPEAK FIRST (OR LAST): Don't be afraid to speak first, especially in meetings where there is likely to be opposition to your idea. Studies show that a meeting's attendees are more likely to remember the first speaker or presenter than the ones who follow. However, in long meetings, a late intervention can be effective because it stays in people's minds after the meeting.

  • WRAP UP:  When the meeting is over, be the first to tell the chair what you have taken away, and the actions you expect to take. 'It shows that you have taken ownership and are not waiting to be delegated to,' says Gooden.

    WRAP UP: When the meeting is over, be the first to tell the chair what you have taken away, and the actions you expect to take. 'It shows that you have taken ownership and are not waiting to be delegated to,' says Gooden.

  • FOLLOW UP:  Later that week, follow up with attendees. Make sure you share your progress, highlight others' good work, and suggest talking points for the next meeting.

    FOLLOW UP: Later that week, follow up with attendees. Make sure you share your progress, highlight others' good work, and suggest talking points for the next meeting.

  • DO SAY:  'Thanks for the opportunity to appear before this committee and I will do my best to help you.'

    DO SAY: 'Thanks for the opportunity to appear before this committee and I will do my best to help you.'

  • DON'T SAY:  'Give me strength. I've been asked some pretty imbecilic things, but this takes the biscuit.'

    DON'T SAY: 'Give me strength. I've been asked some pretty imbecilic things, but this takes the biscuit.'

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15 ways to shine in meetings

by Alexander Garrett
Last Updated: 14 Mar 2018

Images: Shutterstock

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