Work meetings can be a real drag for some people. Its that point in the day where the boss gathers all the employees for updates, progress reports, and announcements. They can sometimes drole on and you find yourself staring blankly into the distance, as you drift in and out of focus.
Maybe the most you think about meetings are to arrive timely and pay attention to the important parts. But doing so would mean that you’re missing out on the incredible opportunity you have to stand out to your boss as their best employee! Being a great meeting participant isn’t about brown-nosing the boss or acting keen. It’s about showing your boss everything you have to offer and positioning yourself in the optimal position to succeed in the workplace.
Here are some tips that will differentiate you from the crowd of colleagues surrounding you. Try one, or try them all, the choice to succeed is up to you!
1. Body Language
I know, I know. body language is obvious. But don’t count it out. It’s obvious because we all know that it’s important, yet most people actually don’t put it to good use. Make sure you’re displaying confidence in good posture, openness with no crossed arms, and a non-rigid, comfortable position.
This can go a long way in drawing your bosses attention to you in meetings. And you WANT that positive attention on you because that means greater respect, recognition opportunities, and, in general, more air time with the boss. All of these variables, and the latter especially, are invaluable in large teams and companies where you can get overlooked as an employee.
2. Position Yourself
First of all, you want to be somewhere in the room that is directly across from wherever the boss is at. Being able to face them like this will lead to increased eye contact. So while they’re speaking to the group, it’s likely that you will be spoken to “the most”. It does sound silly, but you want to be reaching for their eye contact like this, while conveying understanding. It’s a small step towards ensuring that your boss forms a higher opinion on you.
To maximize this effect, it’s also useful to assume the same eye level position as the big cheese. That means that if the boss is sitting then you sit, and if the oss is standing then you stand. It subconsciously conveys that your on their level and engaged in what they’re saying. This tip is best in casual meetings, such as those that congregate in office spaces and not conference rooms. For conference room meetings you definitely want to place yourself in a visible seat. But, oh god, please don’t stand when all employees should be seated at the table! Lecture style meetings, like this, have their own rules, and when the boss is standing, stay planted in your seat unless you need to get up to contribute.
Speaking of contributing! Whenever there’s an opportunity to step in a volunteer to do a task, do it!no matter large or small, the minute you commander-in-chief presents an opportunity, reach out and take it. Don’t wait until later after the meeting is over. Show everyone that your work with that you aren’t messing around and, if they want to take part in a voluntary project, next time they’ll have to step up their game. Taking initiative like this really demonstrates to you boss that you like a challenge, are interested in learning something new, and that they can personally rely on you to get things done. Before you know it they’ll be turning to you first, and that’s always a good thing. Can you say promotion?
4. Strive to Innovate
This is the tip that will really help you make a name for yourself.
Take some time a few days before the meeting, or on the weekend, and consider how you can maximize efficiency in your current role or those around you. Bosses love to hear that you’ve been thinking innovatively, it shows that not only do you care about doing a job well, it that you care about the company. Especially if your solution saves or makes the company money, you’ll really get yourself a reputation for a valuable employee.
Be confident enough to bring up your great idea(s) at the close of a meeting when it becomes an open forum (rather than one-on-one with your boss). It lets everyone around you know that the idea was yours and, more importantly, if you’ve already spoken to friendly colleagues about it, then they can weight in and support your idea.
With all of this said, DO make sure that your idea is, in fact, a good one. You don’t ever want to waste a meetings time for a notion that you haven’t even tested or aren’t confident that it would improve current practices.
5. Speak Up
There comes that time in every meeting where the head honcho asks for updates (e.g. how certain projects or new initiatives are progressing, new employee training, changing workload volumes, etc.).
And this is your moment.
Don’t be shy and let a fellow coworker give your boss team updates when it could be you! Instead, stand up and take the spotlight to speak for your work family. Answer the bosses questions yourself, or even direct another coworker for their opinion if you know that they can shed new light. Such action shows serious leadership qualities that will promote your abilities better than anything else you can do in a meeting. Most of all, taking this position elevates yourself, and it shows that YOU could easily be the one holding this meeting someday.
6. The Meeting Mindset
I’ll keep this point short and sweet.
Meetings are not a time that you should allow yourself to become bored and let your mind wander. It’s a valuable time of the day where you should be engaged and ready to sell yourself! It’s one of the only times per the week where your boss is placed in front if you alongside all your workplace competition. Above all, you want to appear the best of the best and separate yourself from the pack as a high achiever. And you can’t do that with your head in that clouds.
With these strategies, I can assure you that you’re better equipped to shine in meetings compared to your peers. So no excuses! Go out there and start impressing those around you. Because if you don’t, I’m confident that someone else will.