In Meetings … Behave Yourself!

Team MeetingsIn U.S. News, I read a wonderful article by Hannah Morgan , wherein she examined a recent study released by Clarizen. This study suggested that 35 percent of employees said status meetings were a waste of time. Participants also reported spending about nine hours per week preparing for and attending these time-guzzlers.

The meeting organizers usually have the upper hand in determining how the meeting runs, but you do have control over how you contribute and personally benefit. The study offered 3 types of meeting attendee behaviors that should be avoided. If you wish to read the original article, click here. Here is the list:

  1. The Meeting Misser: Are you MIA again? Being absent from meetings may send the message that you don’t care or have more important things to do. If you do need to miss a meeting, be sure you notify the meeting organizer and provide any updates you are expected to deliver.
  2. Mr. or Ms. Side Tracker: Meetings get side tracked when you bring up unrelated issues. Keep on topic, write down your brilliant ideas and choose who you need to follow up with outside the meeting.
  3. The Silent Observer: You may be sending the message that you are disinterested or unprepared when you don’t contribute during meetings. Plan in advance to strategically make one or two comments or questions during the meeting to raise your perception among the team.
  4. The Kiss Up: Learning how to respectfully disagree or raise alternative solutions takes practice. Don’t be that person who always says “yes” or agrees with your manager’s ideas to make yourself look good.
  5. The Day Dreamer: Do you find yourself drifting off in another world during meetings? One way to stay present is to assign yourself a role. Volunteer to keep meeting minutes or keep track of time.
  6. The Phone Checker: When you’re that person who regularly looks down at his or her phone, it sends a message that the meeting is not important. It also distracts you. Keep your phone off the table or out of reach so you aren’t tempted.
  7. The Late Comer: Are meetings not starting on time because you’re late? Not arriving on time is a sign of disrespect to the meeting attendees who arrive on time. It’s also unproductive for them to have to waiting for you to arrive.
  8. The Eater: Your chowing down on a granola bar can be disruptive, and some even consider it rude or unprofessional. Don’t be the only one bringing your food to a meeting. A cup of coffee or water is more appropriate.
  9. The Rambler: You don’t want to be the person who hogs the meeting’s air time with your long-winded update. Give some thought to what you will say before the meeting so you present your ideas clearly and concisely.
  10. Mr. “It’s All About Me”: Say you’re concerned about how upcoming changes will impact you, or you want to highlight an upcoming event you are hosting or participating in. Assess how relevant your issues are to everyone in the meeting, and avoid using valuable meeting time discussing details that only impact you.
  11. The Side Conversationalist: If you have something to say during a meeting, either pose it to the whole group or not at all. Whispering with the person sitting next to you is distracting, and when you talk, you aren’t paying attention. Furthermore, your actions may convey you don’t care what others have to say.
  12. The Nay Sayer: Nothing kills a good brainstorming session like someone who shoots down ideas. While you may know for a fact that the suggestion won’t work, carefully consider if you should mention your perspective during the meeting or wait until afterward. Being right isn’t always as important as being a team player.
  13. The Wimp: Eliminate passive or doubtful words from your vocabulary, such as “I think,” “maybe” or “I just wanted.” When asked to respond to a question or provide your thoughts, communicate your ideas with authority, sit up straight and project your voice so people don’t miss important details.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Business Process Improvement, Professional Skills

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