Ah, the weekly work meeting. Perhaps the
single most boring event ever created in the business world. What’s supposed to
be a purposeful gathering of colleagues to discuss a plan or update a project’s
progress or share ideas, somehow quickly melts into a long snooze fest of
nothingness or becomes a free-for-all where all the loudmouths try to talk over
each other. Either way, you’re left feeling drained and wishing bar carts in
the office was still a thing.
No need to despair, Homies. There’s help
for surviving the dreaded office meeting and it involves just a little preparation
on your end. Here’s how to get more out of those work meetings.
Tips for Surviving Office Meetings
1. Ask for an
agenda. Good meetings have structure so
if there’s an agenda, get your hands on it. Pore over it and find two or three
things that interest you. Jot down a question or two for each point and bring
those with you to the meeting. No agenda? No problem. If you know the topic of
discussion, try to formulate a few inquiries based on that.
2. Have the
right stuff. Notepad? Check. Pens? Check. Coffee? Check. Make
sure you have all of the items/equipment you’ll need for the meeting. You’ll be
prepared and appear ready to handle business.
3. Take notes. Don’t feel compelled to write down everything that’s
said, but do jot down poignant quotes and ideas and important points. This is
one of the easiest ways to fight off sleepiness and appear engaged when you may
feel otherwise. Be sure to capture both verbal and nonverbal language; if your
boss or teammates flinches when an idea is presented it could be a good
starting point for deeper discussions between you or just something to keep in
the back of your mind for use down the road.
questions. Remember those questions you
wrote out before the meeting? Look them over and see if they have been answered
during the presentation. If not, ask just one or two. You may have more but
remember, the objective is to appear interested, not take over the meeting. Consider
emailing any outstanding questions to the presenter to get answers or pulling that
person aside for a few minutes at the meeting’s end.
5. Take a
break. If you’re in a meeting longer
than 30 minutes and there’s no hope of an end in sight soon, it’s perfectly fine
to check out for a few minutes. It may appear that you’re uninterested but the
truth is diverting your attention for a short period of time will help you to
refocus. The emphasis here is on the word short.
A break is five minutes, tops. So go ahead, Homie, look out the window or
excuse yourself to step out the room to stretch or take a quick glance at your
email. Then, tap back into the meeting and push through to the end.
Until next time, hustle hard Homies!