Ever felt so bored in the boardroom, that you somehow missed the key deliverables with your name against them? Or worse yet, a question aimed at you? It’s quite possible… But with a few minor tweaks, we can turn meetings into the proactive opportunities they should be. If done right, meetings come as a benefit to all – they’re a common ground to exchange our ideas, form plans, and make decisions – together.
From an individual level, meetings are a great way to show (and prove) your proactivity. Think of them as an opportunity to not only achieve the desirable outcome intended for the meeting, but as beneficial in showing our team, and manager that we’re ready to get things done. There are so many great ways to show this. By doing so, we can make the most of everyone’s time, and ensure the meeting is an overall success.
So what are the ins and outs, and how can we come at meetings with an approach that not only benefits us, but our wider team?
Long gone are the days of studying for exams (phew!), but we can learn a lot from them, in how to show up well-researched and prepared. The same goes for meetings, be sure to know your stuff. We don’t necessarily need to know all the details and answers upfront, however such things as knowing where you stand on a current project or task, will be highly beneficial when your manager asks.
By coming prepared, we are also showing that we’re serious, and ready for the meeting to be a success. By arming ourselves, and being prepared, we’re also encouraging those around us to also do the same, inspiring them to do the same for next time.
Be an active listener
Active listening means hearing what the speaker is actually saying to us, not what we want to hear. Utilising active listening techniques can help us show that we are engaged, and ready to take-on and implement what the speaker is saying. So what are are active listening techniques? Such things as, giving the speaker your undivided attention, remaining focused, providing feedback, asking questions, and responding appropriately.
Practice the pose
Practice the power of the pose! Body language can be one of the first giveaways of showing that you’re not engaged. Demonstrate that you’re listening through body language, think: nodding, smiling, holding your body in an open and upright position, and even… mirroring the expressions and postures of the speaker.
The strategic use of body language plays a key role in effective communication, and learning simple techniques can quickly turn a meeting around from inactive, to active. Remember, practice makes perfect.
Summarise the meeting
At the end of any meeting, it’s always good to create a mini action plan as to what everyone’s next steps are. Take a proactive approach by creating some time at the end of the meeting to recap key actionables This doesn’t have to take long... Simple reaffirmations such as: ‘Wonderful, so Amy will do…’, and ‘Amy is going to contact…’. This then reminds everyone of their responsibilities, and helps to end the meeting on a positive note.
What are your tips for showing proactivity during a meeting? By actively making an effort, we have the ability to break down the negative stereotypes around meetings, and can turn them into a positive learning experience for you, and everyone else that attends.