DiceTV: Making Meetings Worthwhile. Yes, It Can be Done

The Script

Cat: In meetings, some people are afraid that if they open their mouths, they’ll show off their lack of technical skill. So they just listen and take a lot of notes. But you know that old saying “90 percent of life is showing up?” That’s exactly what everyone in the room has already done. Here’s how you can do more than just show up. I’m Cat Miller, and this is DiceTV.

To be effective in a meeting, you need an agenda. Not the one provided by the organizer, but your own list of what you want to accomplish.

Go in without that, and it’s pretty certain you’re not going to have much influence. But prepare, and your voice will be heard, and you’ll be able to measure the outcome.

There’s an old rule of thumb in the theatre: Start big, because you can always tone it down. This directly translates to the conference room. The longer you wait to speak, the less impact you’ll have.

The moral: You need to participate early. If you genuinely feel like you don’t know enough to express an intelligent opinion, ask questions.

Seat location is as crucial as speaking up early.  Try to sit directly across from the chairperson. If they’re at the end of the table, sit three spaces down on either side. From this spot, you can talk to the chair without anyone having to lean out of the way, and you’ll speak loudly enough to be heard by the rest of the attendees.

After the meeting, take five minutes back at your desk to write down what you did right, and what you could have done better. These are private notes – just for you. They’ll help you set a personal benchmark for the next meeting.

Get better at meetings, and they won’t be lost blocks of time anymore. You’ll put your stamp on them and you’ll have a better understanding of what your team is doing because you were really listening.

I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.

Comments

4 Responses to “DiceTV: Making Meetings Worthwhile. Yes, It Can be Done”

November 19, 2009 at 7:07 am, M. Okrent said:

Excellent advice and immediately useable to improve management’s perceptions.

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November 19, 2009 at 8:44 am, Bill said:

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt .

— George Eliot

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November 19, 2009 at 10:16 am, ^_^ said:

“If you genuinely feel like you don’t know enough to express an intelligent opinion, ask questions”

That was probably the best piece of advice from diceTv thus far.

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November 19, 2009 at 10:17 am, Mike said:

Meetings have their place and time but meetings can be taken to the lunatic fringe.

Employees soon learn whether, or not, meetings are a productive forum for information gathering and exchange, or serve only as a bully pulpit for management. Once the purpose of meetings has been revealed, some employees love them because it’s like a school assembly (no work !!!) while others hate them because they have work to do.

Additionally, I’ve attended meetings where it was obvious the “stars” should not have been there (they knew nothing about their alleged area of expertise but they excelled at swabbing a rump) while other meetings were noteable for who was missing.

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