July 16, 2008

Meetings - Speak Up & Move Up!

Where are you?
Meeting business speak
Do you love meetings or hate them? Meetings have got a bad rep as time wastage and bureaucratic exercise that yeild limited value. Badly structured or conducted meetings may be unproductive but meetings in general play an important role in one's brand development and eventually career growth.

Meetings are an opportunity to verbalize and socialize your opinions, suggestions and insight. It is a social occasion where your image is substantiated and people get an opportunity to size you up. How you interact in a meeting therefore can help or undermine your career growth.

Consider the following meeting practices

  • Don't be invisible: That is the most common symptom I see when people are uncomfortable in a meeting. They try to make themselves invisible by taking the back seat, never speaking and generally keeping a low profile. What message does this send to the rest of the group? Passive, lacking ideas, not a team player, lacking confidence are some of the behavior attributes that get associated with such individuals. Hardly the kind of image you want to foster if you are seeking to establish yourself as a key team member.

  • Speak ... but: It is important to chime in as needed and make your presence be felt but don't overdo it. There is always someone who just won't quit speaking or has an opinion about everything. Speak to add value, to be constructive or to contribute in a meaningful way.

  • Be prepared: Meetings also require preparation. Read the agenda, the meeting objectives and understand the context. If you are unfamiliar with the meeting objective - do some legwork to come up to speed. The more prepared you, the more you can contribute in the meeting. If you have no idea what is going on - keep quite and stay invisible!

Use meetings to your advantage - showcase what you have to offer by being visible, constructive and vocal.

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