If you’re a new hire, meetings take on special significance. Because everything you do early-on leaves a lasting impression, meetings are opportunities to make that impression positive, especially among stakeholders who don’t interact with you on a daily basis.
Follow the tips below to establish and reinforce a positive impression in meetings, so that you’ll be thought of as the prepared, considerate, and attentive employee who adds value.
Study the Agenda
Agendas set the purpose and scope of meetings. Studying it beforehand helps you prepare by anticipating how the discussions will impact your work. If there is no agenda, make a list of topics you hope will be talked about, and rank order them by most to least important. At the same tie, jot down a list of bullet points with the key phrases or main ideas you want to share, given the chance. This way, you’re prepared if there’s an opportunity for open discussion.
Show Up Early
Never show up late to a meeting. Come early and be prepared to make small talk with others before the meeting starts. To get yourself ready, check out our tips on Mastering the Art of Small Talk
Know Your Role
Sometimes, adding value to a meeting means keeping silent. For instance, if your team and supervisors are meeting with another team and their supervisors, you’re representing the team, not your individual opinion. Think of yourself as part of a diplomatic envoy, gone to negotiate with another diplomatic envoy. There are protocols in place, usually based on hierarchy, to determine who talks and when. If you disagree with your team’s strategy, take it up with them after the meeting.
There will be times when a question is asked, and nobody knows the answer. If you’ve done your homework, if you’ve researched the topic, then offer an answer. You’ll make a positive impression. But don’t ever speculate or guess about something you don’t know.
Anticipate the Light
When speaking in a meeting, be concise and stick to the topic. On stage, stand-up comedians know their time is almost up by means of a flashing light in their line of sight. The warning that your speaking time is up won’t be that overt, so it’s important that you pay attention to body language and hone your internal clock, so you know when it’s time to let others respond.
Focus on Problem-Solving
In meetings, you’ll hear proposals that seem impossible to execute. When this happens, try to stay positive, focus on the desired outcomes, and offer solutions. On a related note, meetings often conclude with a list of action items that nobody wants to take on, because they’re already busy. Consider becoming the hero who not only volunteers to take on those responsibilities, but actually gets them done. Task forces, special projects, committee assignments, and so on are great opportunities to interact with coworkers outside your immediate team and prove your value.
Learn By Doing at Revature
Learning to add value in meetings and leave a good impression is a valuable soft skill. At Revature, we recognize the impact of soft skills long-term technology careers. That’s why we prepare our recruits with a paid, 12-week training program, where they learn the technology and soft skills necessary to thrive in enterprise-level environments. At the end of the training, we place them with one of our many clients. If you’re a career-oriented worker with an interest in the technology sector, then the Revature Consulting Life might be right for you.