10 Ways to Lose Cool Points in a Meeting
Not Showing Up- It’s always tempting to remain at you desk and keep working; but, rather than sending a signal of being a hard worker, you’ll just end up offending the party who called the meeting. It’s important to understand that meetings also foster an environment to build relationships, which is vital to your success.
Showing Up Late- Nothing says "I don’t have my stuff together" like walking into a meeting that’s already in progress. Arriving a few minutes early not only demonstrates that you respect your colleagues' time, but guarantees you get a good seat as well.
Arriving Unprepared- Be sure you have any materials or reports prepared and on hand prior to your arrival. If pertinent information or memos have been distributed beforehand, read them and familiarize yourself with the subject matter. In addition, if you have any questions, comments, or contributions, have them written down so you can refer to them during the meeting.
Leaving Your Cell Phone On- Just turn your phone completely off or leave it in your office. Forget the vibrate function as well because merely looking at your phone can be a distraction to the meeting presenter and those around you. Oh and NEVER, NEVER take a call in the middle of a meeting.
Chewing Gum- It’s rude, unprofessional, and unbecoming of a man or women to sit there chewing like a cow. If you are concerned about your breath (which we all should be) then be sure you have mints on hand.
Dominating the Conversation- Once actual discussion has begun, allow the more senior figures make their contribution first. It’s all right to interject and make your point, but do just that: keep it simple and stay on track. Plus you don’t have to comment on every issue at hand. Take time out to listen, you just might learn something.
Making Your Statements Sound Like Questions- Once you sound as if you have a question, you open the door for folks to give an answer for what you just said as well as take the credit for solving your “question”. If you have a statement, make it a declarative one and be firm with it.
Deviating From The Topic- Don’t go off on a tangent and start bringing up things that have nothing to do with the discussion at hand. Having notes, or making notes, during the discussion will assist you with staying on task. If you think of something that may relate to another topic, then write that down too, and then be prepared to address it at the next appropriate meeting.
Allowing Yourself to Be Intimidated- Some folks will look at meetings as the opportunity to bash other coworkers in order to make themselves look better. Don’t fall into this trap and lay down like a wounded puppy, or come back swinging and make a mess of things. If you are attacked just stand your ground, politely defend yourself, and, if necessary, be politely frank when putting the attacker back on track. Here’s and example: “Frank are you saying I’m not concerned about our customer retention? Because if you are, you’re wrong. I do understand that customer retention is vital to our growth, so let us just stay on task here and figure out what best for our team.”
Misread Signals- If you've made a point and others are discussing it, listen carefully to what is being said and pay attention to the prevalent message within the entire group. If folks are asking questions they might just be seeking clarity on your issue not attacking you or undermining your thoughts. And forget reading faces. Someone wrinkling their forehead or raising an eyebrow may just be a person in deep thought, rather than what you might mistakenly take as dislike. It’s important to really actively listen to the conversation at hand.