The responsibility of making sure that a meeting runs smoothly and efficiently often falls on the meeting organizer. However, attendees also have a role to play. Each attendee can contribute and help achieve meeting outcomes.
Many times, we do not ask ourselves if we have been a good attendee. We are focused on ourselves, rather than the team. But there are many ways that we can add value to a meeting. We can also take steps to support the meeting leader. This post gives you some useful tips to take part in a meeting effectively.
Be on time and adopt the right mindset.
The first step is to be on time for the meeting. If you’re on time, you’re late, so get to the meeting five minutes early. This gives you time to greet the attendees, have your materials in order, and get in the right frame of mind. Attendees that walk in late distract the rest of the team and derail the discussion.
People often approach meetings with a careless attitude. You may not prepare for a meeting unless you are the one running it. Replace this mindset with concern and enthusiasm. Your ideas stem from your own personality and experiences. Share them with your team and add value to the meeting.
Listen and pay attention.
Taking part in team meetings does not always involve speaking or offering your opinion. It may just involve avoiding distracting behavior while listening to the speaker. Focused listening can affect the quality of speaking. The speaker becomes authentic and expresses exactly what they are feeling. Don’t jump into the conversation. Instead, wait for the speaker to finish. Give the speaker the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assess and judge, just listen.
Don’t ramble, stay on track.
Express your thoughts in clear terms. Allow others to ask questions if they do not understand. Be brief and only add the required details. Break your speech into points and elaborate on these points. Speak only what is relevant to the issue being discussed. If you are someone who does not speak much during meetings, start by summarizing the conversation and go from there. Don’t keep ideas and insights to yourself. Express them and add to the team’s success.
Be courteous and civil.
Engage in the meeting with an attitude of respect and civility. Not everyone may agree with your opinion or point of view. If you disagree, do it in a civil manner. First, try and find value in the other person’s argument, and then explain your point of view. Look for ways to reach a consensus in a mindful way.
Support the meeting leader.
Ask the person leading the meeting if there is anything that you can help with. For instance, you can ensure that the room is set up for the meeting. During the meeting, you can help to write meeting minutes or keep track of the time. This will serve as encouragement to the leader. You will also contribute towards having an effective meeting.
Make other attendees comfortable.
It’s natural to look out for yourself. But try to think of how you can enhance the meeting experience for other attendees. Before the meeting starts, connect with people and ask about their projects.
During the meeting:
- See if anyone wants to join the conversation and invite them to share their thoughts.
- If someone is trying to interrupt, allow the speaker to finish speaking first.
- If you think that something was skipped over, ask the person to repeat their point or question.
- Check with people to see if they have anything more to add.
- If you feel that the meeting will be important to those who are not present, make a note and share it with them.
- At the end of the meeting, thank everyone who took part.
At the start of the meeting, be clear about what the meeting hopes to achieve. Make sure that all discussions are productive. Pay attention to each discussion. When it goes off track, rein the conversation back in. Keep looking for ways to make the meeting more productive and collaborative.
Commit to work.
Take on work readily. Ensure that you clarify what needs to be done and by when. Commit to the work and deliver. This will add to the team’s success and to meeting productivity.
Make meetings productive.
It is easy to complain about unproductive meetings, lost time, and unfinished projects. Take a fresh look at how you can add value to a meeting. Work towards building a collaborative team where each member looks out for the other. Walk into every meeting with the aim of making it better.