How to Shine During Your Next Business Meeting
As a working professional trying to successfully climb the corporate ladder, it’s important to showcase your skills, talents, and strengths to managers and colleagues. Most days, the occasion may not present itself as often as you would like, but as dreaded as business meetings may be, they do offer a golden opportunity to make yourself look good in front of peers, managers, and even senior management. Here are several ways that you can look good during your next big business meeting.
1. Come prepared. Because so many people dislike meetings so much, they tend to ignore them until it’s time to step into the conference room. Showing up prepared is one of the surest and easiest ways to set yourself apart during the next team meeting. In advance of the meeting, review the agenda and make sure you understand what the objectives and goals of the meeting are. Take time to do research on the topics of discussion so that you’re ready and knowledgeable when participating in the conversation.
2. Show up a few minutes early. It’s never a good impression if you walk into a meeting late. It’s disruptive and can be viewed as your lack of professionalism or respect for the meeting organizer. Ensure that you arrive to the meeting room a few minutes ahead of the scheduled start time in order to avoid making a negative impression.
3. Position yourself well. Find a seat near the center of the meeting table or seating arrangement. This positions you well for the group discussion and can offer you good visibility to everyone present so that when you shine, everyone will be able to take note.
4. Introduce yourself. If there’s anyone that you may not already know present at the meeting, introduce yourself and exchange business cards towards the start of the meeting as everyone is walking in. Try to address people by their names during the business meeting as well. Part of making a good impression is also ensuring that people remember you and your strengths long after the meeting is over.
5. Mind your body language. Your body has ways of giving away your true emotions and you may not even be aware of it. Be conscious of how you present yourself through your body language during meetings. Don’t cross your arms as this can be seen as a sign of disapproval or aggression. Make steady eye contact with each individual as you’re speaking. If you disagree with something someone has said, never raise your voice, roll your eyes, sigh out loud, or anything that can be seen as immature. You want to be a successful professional, not a child, so act like one.
6. Demonstrate your ability to collaborate. When discussing accomplishments and achievements, be sure to include and praise those in your team. Point out the strengths of your colleagues and recommend co-workers who possess the necessary skills to complete a particular goal-oriented task. By sharing the spotlight and the success with your peers, others will note how well you work with others, which will bode well for you in the future when your company is in need of an effective leader.
7. Follow-up after the meeting is over. If you have any deliverables or tasks to complete after the meeting is over, be sure to complete them in a timely manner and follow-up with the appropriate parties involved. By taking action towards the goals discussed by your team and providing a detailed account of your contribution to the success of the tasks, you demonstrate your capabilities, and you also keep your name and admirable work ethic in the forefront of everyone’s minds.
It is important to note the fine line that separates highlighting your skills and talents at meetings from being a brown-noser or a show-off. While it’s good to establish and exhibit your strengths at meetings, you don’t want to go too far and alienate your peers or boss. Your behaviour during business meetings can have a positive or negative impact on your future success so it’s vital that you learn to gain the respect and confidence of your colleagues without putting them down or making them feel bad. Remember, looking out for your team overall will do far more for your career than just hogging the spotlight all to yourself.