Source | Inc : By Kristi Hedges
Most people accept that meetings are a part of work–but that doesn’t mean they enjoy them. As this infographic shows, managers spend between 35-50% of their time in meetings, and up to four hours a week just on status updates. And those same bosses consider 67% of meetings to be failures.
Try as you might to escape them, they’re also incredibly important to your career. Meetings are a professional stage–it’s where others see your leadership ability. How you get your point across, handle difficult questions, and facilitate a discussion speak volumes about your capacity. People use this time to assess and judge others. Even if you sit quietly and listen, you’re sending a message.
Regardless of the reasons why they struggle with meetings, savvy professionals know they have to find a way to use them to gain and expand their credibility. Instead of trying to duck out or hang back, here are five ways to make the most of every meeting you’re in.
1. Get Your Voice in the Room Early
Meeting dynamics are established early on by the most vocal speakers. So, aim to speak up in the first five minutes to show confidence and establish your voice. Not only do you benefit from getting your ideas out there while everyone is still fresh and paying attention, your comments are also more likely to be referred to later, providing you with other openings to be heard.
2. Build on Other’s Thoughts
Dialogue in meetings can go fast, with ideas being thrown out quickly. If other people take the points you wanted to say, you may feel that you need to wait for a truly original, creative thought to speak up. But that’s a high bar and can keep you on the sidelines (maybe for the entire meeting).
Instead, notice what others are saying and look for common threads that can take the conversation forward. It can be as simple as saying, “I’ve heard three people mention product modifications, what could that look like?” or “If we take a step back, the only point we’re getting stuck on is the timeline.” This can also be a helpful way to keep people from talking over each other and encourage them to find areas of agreement.