As you progress throughout your professional career, it is likely that you will have to attend meetings. Be it large or small, there are several key behaviours that are important to adhere to in a meeting that will contribute to your overall success.
- Be on time
Likely the meeting organizer sent out an invite outlining the time and the location of the meeting. By stating you will be attending, you acknowledge the details of the meeting and implicitly agree to be there for the set time. If possible arrive a few minutes early to get yourself situated and to connect with the others that may be attending. Do not be late as this will interrupt the meeting that has already started and shows disregard for those who showed up on time.
- Be prepared
The reason for the meeting should be outlined in the meeting request. Walk to the meeting with a firm grasp of what will be discussed. Review any notes you may have from a previous meeting or do a little research on your own. Being prepared enables you to speak competently and confidently to those in attendance.
- Ask questions for clarification
During the meeting, you may need to ask for some clarification on a matter being discussed or on any tasks being assigned to you. Asking questions shows your engagement in the meeting as well as your interest in the outcome. Try to gage the best time to ask your questions to be sure you are not interrupting and that what you are asking is relevant to the topic. This can be a tricky skill to master but will come with practice over time.
- Suggest ideas
In an open format meeting there may be a round table discussion where everyone voices their opinions and suggestions on the matter at hand. Join in the conversation and make suggestions that are relevant and focused. This will show your competence and confidence.
- Take notes
Take notes throughout the meeting, especially about key topics being discussed as well as any action items that may arise. These notes will serve to remind you at a later date of the discussion and you will have a written record of the conversation.
- Make eye contact
When listening in a meeting, look at the person talking so they know you are present and hearing what is being spoken about. This is part of non-verbal communication that speaks to your professional conduct.
- Turn off electronics
This point cannot be overstated. Turn off your electronics, your cell phones, your laptops, and anything else. Everyone notices and knows when you are looking at your phone and texting your friend. There is nothing that cannot wait for the duration of the meeting.