1. Get your agenda straight
What do you want from this meeting? Mark your own agenda points against those on the official agenda, so you can ensure you got your points across and you can keep yourself focused.
2. Know who everyone is
Get to the meeting early...good advice anyway, but this also gives you the added advantage of being to introduce yourself to anyone you don’t already know and find out a little about them. There’s nothing less empowering in a meeting than not being entirely sure what everyone’s role and responsibilities are.
3. Position yourself well
The ideal position is where you are opposite, or at least within eye contact range of, the person with the highest status in the room. Don’t take the chair that’s been squeezed in the corner of the table or you'll find yourself being pushed back and on the fringes of the group.
4. Speak up
In terms of voice, make sure you breathe slowly. If the people around you are stressed or excitable, or the meeting is a contentious one, you can find your own voice rising in pitch and your breathing becoming lighter and less beneficial. Don’t get drawn into the tension, drop your shoulders and breathe deeply, and you can become the voice of authority rather than part of the clamour.
5. Don’t be overly polite
Obviously we’re not suggesting you bellow over other people’s contributions, but if you feel (particularly if you are chair) that someone has been holding forth for too long, don’t be afraid to say “thanks so much X; that’s very helpful but we have limited time today so could we hear from other people?”
6. Do not have your phone out
It’s rude, you’ll be distracted and you’ll find checking it irresistible, and it will also distract other people. Even the flashing indicator of a silent message can be irritating to others.
7. Decisions, decisions
Be very specific. Don’t review, discuss or consider, at a meeting; state your aim. “The reason we're here is to decide whether we proceed with xx, and I’d like to have made that decision by 11am, when this meeting ends.” If everyone’s done a pre-read, there’s no need to go through everything in the issues in the meeting.
8. Don’t be ‘that person’
Yes Ok you have a personal hobby-horse. You want to know why the printer never works, or why someone keeps taking your parking space, or why the canteen always runs out of the chicken before you get there. But this meeting is not the place to air it. If everyone’s leaning forward and casting around to pick up their stuff and leave don’t be the one that then clambers on their hobby horse and starts ranting.
9. Thank you letters
If someone championed you in a meeting, or chaired it well, or went to some effort to arrange refreshment or transport, thank them via email. Don’t gush, but they will be glad you noticed.
Thank you to Tanya Beckett, of BBC Business for a great article – Click here to review original article.
Jose joined New Frontiers in 2000 working a variety of roles from recruitment consultant to in-house recruiter and staff trainer and now General Manager. Jose has a wealth of travel industry experience having worked in travel for 8 years prior to joining New Frontiers with roles in retail and for a tour operator.