Meeting productivity often becomes the sole responsibility of the meeting organizer. However, attendees also have a role to play. Each attendee must contribute toward achieving the meeting outcome. We fail to ask ourselves if we have been a good attendee. How to participate in meetings effectively is the furthest thought in our minds. We don’t think about other meeting attendees, we only think about ourselves. There are numerous ways we can add value to the meeting and support the meeting leader. This blog gives you a few tips on how to reverse this trend and how to participate in a meeting effectively.
Be on Time and Approach Meetings with the Right Mindset
The first step to effective meeting participation 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, get required materials in order and get in the right frame of mind for the meeting. Attendees walking in late is distracting and derails the discussion.
People often approach meetings with a lackadaisical attitude. You may not prepare for a meeting unless you’re the one running it. Replace this attitude with concern and enthusiasm. Your ideas stem from your unique personality and experience. Share them with your team and add value to the meeting. Spend time reading the material shared before the meeting, Be prepared with your contribution to the items on the agenda.
Listen and Pay Attention
Participating in team meetings does not necessarily involve speaking or offering your opinion. It may just involve avoiding distracting behavior while listening to the speaker. Focused listening can influence the quality of speaking. The speaker becomes authentic and expresses exactly what they are feeling. Don’t jump into the conversation, wait for the speaker to finish. You can use a talking stick to slow down the conversation and improve listening. 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 other attendees to ask questions if they do not understand. Be brief, add only as much detail as to provide clarity. 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 doesn’t speak much during meetings, start by summarizing the conversation and build from there. Don’t keep ideas and insights to yourself, express them and add to the team’s success.
Be Courteous and Civil
Participate in the meeting with an attitude of respect and civility. Everyone may not agree with your opinion or point of view. It is best to not express disagreement during meetings. However if you must disagree then 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.
Support the Meeting Leader
Ask the person leading the meeting if there is anything that you can help him or her with. You can ensure that the room is set up for the meeting, that refreshments are arranged and you can assist in welcoming the guest. During the meeting, you can distribute handouts and write effective meeting notes. This will serve as encouragement to the leader and you will also contribute towards having an effective meeting.
Make Other Attendees Comfortable
It’s natural to look out only for yourself, but see how you can enhance the meeting experience for other attendees. Before the meeting starts, connect with people and enquire about their projects.
During the meeting :
- See if anyone wants to join the conversation and invite them to share their thoughts.
- If there has been an interruption, ask the speaker to finish speaking.
- If you think that the conversation skipped over what was asked, then ask the person to repeat their point or question.
- Check with people to see if they have anything more to add to the conversation.
- If you feel that the discussion will be important to those who are not present, make a note and share it with them.
- At the end of the meeting, thank those who contributed to the meeting.
At the start of the meeting, be clear about what the meeting hopes to achieve. Make sure that all discussions during the meeting are productive. Pay attention to each discussion and observe when it goes off track and rein the conversation back in. Keep looking for ways to make the meeting more productive and collaborative.
Commit to Work
Don’t wait to be asked, 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 the meeting productivity.
Participate in Meetings and Make Them Productive
It is easy to complain about unproductive meetings, lost time and unfinished projects. Take a fresh look at how you can participate in a meeting and add value. 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.