On Tuesday, I was in a meeting from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Although these meetings were necessary and very productive it still was hard. As a STEM Professional we live in meetings and emails it’s just our way of life. This had me thinking, what are my survival tips for being in a long ass meetings. Ask yourself these three questions before going into any meeting:
- What is my role in this meeting? You need to understand what level of participation will be required of you.
Observer: In this role listening and evaluating is your primary purpose and your opinion is not necessarily required but learning and obserering is. Be sure to give your feedback to management after the meeting. This demonstrates that you paid attention, understood the conversation, and then was able to make it relevant to what you do.
Presenter: In this role, you are actually going to be presenting and sharing information or knowledge with an audience. Be engaged the whole meeting so that you can incorporate any relevant information you hear to your presentation.
Evaluator: In this role, you need to bring all your meeting skills into play. You need to be able to quickly question the information you hear, add value to information being presented, and show you completely understand what is being presented. The ability to remember facts, statistics, and other pertinent information is critical to be successful in this meeting. You should prepare for this meeting by knowing what is on the agenda and what is important in this meeting. Often times your leadership will ask you to weigh in or even co-sign on the information that you are hearing. This is a great way showcase your expertise. Be careful more than likely when you leave it will be with action items which will lead to follow-up meetings.
- What is going to be your fuel strategy?
Please make sure you have a strategy not to get “hangry” (hunger that causes anger) in the meeting. I know myself well enough to know that I’m less effective if I’m hungry or have low blood sugar, so I make sure that I have a snack and something to drink with me. You need energy! Long meetings are the marathons of Corporate lifestyle. Drinking plenty of fluids is also smart. You stay alert, and (bonus) the bathroom trips those drinks will necessitate will give you an excuse to get out of your chair.
- Are you focused?
I think an 18-hour online bridge meeting is my record for a continuous meeting where I actually had to be engaged. To keep things straight, you may want to consider bringing an old-fashioned paper notebook with you to meetings along with your laptop. The simple act of distilling and writing key pieces of information helps me remember. Depending on your role in a meeting you should limit multitasking and focus on being present. Try to interact–a lot. Asking questions and really engaging with not only those presenting but those in attendance helps you remember as well. A good rule of thumb: If you’re able to do something else during a meeting, you shouldn’t be there. (But sometimes your boss just wants you there anyway lol)
Long as meetings will always be a necessary evil in Corporate life, so be sure to have a plan going in.
The Corporate Hustler
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