Below is another excerpt from my book Unclutter Your Life in One Week — this time on how to efficiently participate in a meeting.
This is from the Wednesday chapter, “Communication Processes” section:
“You might not realize it, but meeting attendees have some control over how quickly a meeting runs and they certainly impact the quality of the discussion.
- Be prepared. Read the agenda at least a day in advance of the meeting. Come to the meeting with relevant materials. Have a pen and pad of paper with you. Turn your BlackBerry to vibrate. Know who else will be at the meeting. Know the goal of the meeting, its location, and its start time. Arrive at the meeting on time.
- Respect others. How many times have you been in a meeting where a presenter has had to repeat information because Gary and Stephanie were focusing on their laptops instead of paying attention the first time something was said? Not only does this type of distraction waste Gary’s and Stephanie’s time, but it also wastes the time of everyone attending the meeting. Focus your attention on who is speaking. Make eye contact. Show that you’re listening. Avoid making snide comments to your neighbor. If you’re having trouble concentrating, write down in excruciating detail everything the speaker is saying. It will give you something to do, and you can review your detailed notes later if you spaced out on what was being said.
- Think before you speak. Before you contribute to a conversation in a meeting, ask yourself: 1) Is this comment helpful and relevant to the topic being discussed right now? (If it’s not, save it for after the meeting.) 2) Will this comment be helpful to everyone in the room or just one individual? (If the comment is only helpful to one person, save everyone else’s time and talk to that specific person after the meeting.) 3) Can I craft my comment so that it takes less than thirty seconds to express? (If you can’t, keep crafting. If you’re not presenting, your comments should be brief.)”
What do you do during meetings to help speed them along? Add your ideas to the comments.