Team meetings can become battlegrounds where colleagues jockey for position, jousting with words, experience, and presence for approval and consideration for advancement and accolades within companies of all sizes. Navigating tense meetings can often feel like make-or-break moments where careers are decided, and trust is forged or shattered with every contribution.
So how can you stand out as a valuable, essential member during team meetings? Here are several great ways to make your mark during your next team meeting:
Be The Most Prepared Person In The Room
Study up on the meeting agenda before the meeting itself and come prepared with answers to questions you think others may ask. If the plan is vague, send a quick email to your manager or the meeting organizer asking for a quick rundown of the main topics they’ll bring to the table.
Knowledge is power. When you arrive prepared, you’ll appear confident and reliable just by having a few choice contributions waiting in your back pocket compared to team members who just waltzed in late and are more concerned about their venti latte.
Whenever you’re able to speed up a meeting by offering information immediately to answer a question or set up a topic of conversation, you’re showing you value everyone’s time enough to come prepared. In today’s high-speed corporate world, you cannot buy or fake this kind of trustworthiness.
Those Who Are Loudest in Meetings Often Have The Least To Say
Being the person who jumps in the most during meetings often has a negative social effect overall, as teams will often equate that to “spotlight syndrome,” where they’ll feel an over-speaker is talking just to be heard and not for the good of the team.
You do not have to be the one who answers every single question, nor do you need always be the first to offer up responses during pauses in the conversation to be noticed. Those who choose this strategy come off as selfish or attention-seeking for their efforts. The key is to speak efficiently when you do have the floor, stay on task, and treat those you’re talking to with a respectful benefit of the doubt. When you encounter teammates who are overstepping just to be noticed, let them. More often than not, they will fizzle themselves out as they flounder, trying to appear relevant, and when the conversation lulls as a result, you can swoop in with a concise talking point to bring everyone back on track, which will endear you to management and your colleagues for righting the ship.
Kill Them With Kindness
Empathy is at a premium, and those who can not only maintain their composure during stressful meetings but help their colleagues do the same, are regarded with immense value by management during group meetings. Fear is a powerful motivator; it takes real emotional fortitude to see past the negative possibilities and focus on what is possible with earnest collaboration.
If your contributions rally people toward the common goal, that’s the epitome of being a team player! Nay-saying and baseless argumentative “what-ifs” may sound productive on the surface but are usually fruitless fear-mongering that wastes valuable time and sows unnecessary worry throughout the team. Focus on being a thoughtful, positive contributor by uplifting others while reinforcing your positive contributions to the conversation.
Review The Previous Meetings And Thank The Presenter
While not necessary after every meeting, it is a thoughtful gesture to send a timely message of thanks to whoever championed the meeting and offer a few uplifting comments about specific insights you gleaned from their contributions. Most people will be surprised at first but will welcome a quick note of appreciation for the work they put into presenting in front of the whole team.
Building connections this way will often open the door to collaborating or asking for your thoughts in the future, which is a great networking opportunity that can lead to projects and even promotions or future job opportunities!
Summarize The Expectations Going Forward Prior To The Wrap-Up
When the meeting is winding down, be the one who asks for clarification on the expectations for everyone between now and the next meeting. What are the expected goals team-wide? Who has to focus on which core responsibility? Does everybody understand what they must do between now and your next meeting? Are there any points of confusion that need clearing up before everyone breaks for lunch?
By championing points of clarity for your team, you’re looking out for both individuals and the greater good of the entire team, which saves time and confusion for everybody and helps everyone hit the ground running!
Team meetings can feel treacherous, but if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be much more helpful, trusted, and welcomed during your next meeting.