November 23, 2011


Many of us attend (or lead) meetings on a regular basis. Sometimes they run smoothly and other times things spin out of control into a clumsy mess. Here are some short tips to help you stay focused, professional and effective in meetings.

When you are leading or facilitating the meeting:
  • DO smile and make eye contact. People engage when you look open and approachable.
  • DO move around if you are standing/presenting. It keeps things flowing and helps you relax if you can take a few steps and use your hands.
  • DO make use of multimedia to engage the senses if you know your meeting or presentation might take long: Video's, charts, textures, images or sounds (depending on the content).
  • DON'T try to impress by using jargon or overly technical terminology. People connect with you easier when you are real and use familiar phrases and descriptors.
  • DON'T forget to check if your screen saver (with personal or unprofessional images) will pop up during your presentation. Has this happened to any of you before? ☺

When you are attending a meeting:
  • DO show facial reactions to what the presenter is saying. It helps to let him know if he is being understood or not. Smiles and nods help a lot! It's also easy to show with your eyes when you're not following or confused.
  • DO ask questions or give your opinion when the floor is opened, while keeping it to-the-point.
  • DO leave your phone outside, or if you are expecting urgent calls/emails have it close by on silent. Try not to create the impression that you are more interested in your phone than the meeting.
  • DON'T come unprepared. If you have any indication what the meeting will be about, see if there are things you can look up or ideas you can gather. Showing that you are proactive and have a contribution to make to the group is very valuable to your personal brand at work.
  • DON'T get engaged in side conversations when someone else is talking or presenting. It sends the message that you are either not interested or that you disrespect the presenter or group.

I found some handy posts on the 5 worst things to do in a meeting and meeting myths revealed

What are your top tips and frustrations in meetings?

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