Meetings are called by different people in high level positions. They can be review meetings, new strategy announcements, progress of a project or other important announcements. Sometimes even the CEO or MD may be heading the meeting. It is to be remembered that no body in higher position calls a meeting for fun. A meeting is called to conduct serious business or work. The time for the meeting is informed to all concerned well in advance. Each of the participants must do his homework properly and attend the meeting well informed and prepared. The review meetings called by departmental heads may be more frequent and further high level meetings can be organized as and when required. Statutory Board of Directors meeting are held once in 3 months.
Very few employees seem interested in office meetings, while for others meetings are a real waste of time. But the fact is meetings are very important and they can actually make or break your career. Here is a list of things that you should avoid doing in an office meeting if you really love your job.
Take over the conversation: When a meeting is on, make sure you let the senior figures contribute first. Let them finish and then you can share your ideas. But don’t try and control or take over the meeting. Most importantly, never interrupt while someone is talking. And talk only if you have an idea to share or when you’ve been asked to talk.
Make your statements sound like questions: Phrasing your statements in a question format invites others to say no, argue or take credit for your ideas. So, make sure you don’t always speak in declarative sentences such as “Let’s do more research on that or what we should do is…”
Misread signals: Very carefully listen to what people say in a meeting. That will help you understand how open they are to your ideas. You also need to make sure your message is relevant to your audience. So, be clear and precise in whatever you say.
Get panicky: Unfortunately, for some employees, meetings are a battleground. If you become the victim of a put-down or accusation, calmly defend your self instead of feeling scared.
Chewing gum: This is the most annoying thing one can ever do during a meeting and it shows how much you respect your boss and your co-workers. It truly creates a bad impression. Slopping, popping, cracking or chewing like a cow in a meeting is annoying and very unprofessional.
Keep your cell phone off: Always turn off your cell phone during a meeting. A ringing phone interrupts the presenter and distracts the audience. And whatever you do, never take a call in middle of the meeting.
Wander off topic: Please don’t hijack the agenda. Stay focused on what you, your boss and your co-workers are trying to accomplish. First finish discussing the current topic and then jump to another one. That too only if everyone present at the meeting is fine with it.
Skip it: Missing it is the worst thing to do. You never know if your super boss decides to turn up for it. Your absence will definitely be taken seriously then. After all, in the end, meetings are not just about productivity they are also about projecting a positive image and building professional relationships.
Meetings are mostly of two kinds. One is a departmental meeting called by the departmental head. Either he may announce a working strategy on a particular project assigned to the department or he may want to review the progress on various tasks of different staff members within the department. In case of latter the departmental head might have announced the agenda in advance and it is expected that all the concerned in the department are ready with their working progress and expected completion time of the tasks assigned to them. The departmental review may be weekly or monthly.
The second category of meeting is called by the CEO or V.P. and departmental or functional heads are called for this meeting. This type of meeting may be called for once in a quarter or even once in a month. The agenda may be mostly for deciding a consensus on strategy, cost cutting, market scenario etc., where the functional or operational heads may have to contribute their expertise. The meeting may be one (top boss) to one (head) or one to required heads.