Meetings 101: The do’s and don’ts

Before sitting in a big girl conference room surrounded by professionals, I had no idea what to do in meetings. I knew you were supposed to nod at times, don’t talk too much, or too little and never touch your phone. But there’s a lot more to it.

There are also different kinds of meetings that require different preparation, but here are the basics:

Do take notes

No, you will not remember everything. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely not used to being in meetings and you’re going to be nervous enough. So trust me – you’re not going to remember much. People that live their whole lives in meetings take notes, and you should too.

Some places it’s normal to bring in your laptop, others a notepad. Bring both if you’re not sure, or take note of what other people bring. But if you use your laptop, make sure you don’t get caught not taking notes.

Do know what you want covered

What do you want to get out of the meeting? What questions need to be answered? What decision needs to be made? You should know all of that before entering the meeting.

Jot down questions that you have or what you want to be covered in your notebook or your laptop so you can fill them in or bring them up.

Don’t talk over people

Sometimes we want to finish people’s thoughts so they can just get to the point, or you have something on the tip of your tongue that you want to share, but try to let them get to the end. If you feel you might forget what you’re going to say, write it down.

Do go over your notes

After the meeting, set aside 10-15 minutes to review what you wrote and make it more legible for future you and possibly others. If you wait too long, you won’t remember all the specifics.

If the meeting was for a group project, you might want to combine other people’s notes so everything is compiled in one place.

Don’t look uninterested

This takes some non-verbal communication and “active listening” skills. Nod occasionally (that helps the speaker too), seem interested and don’t look around the room or at the floor.  

Featured image by Riley Moran