Sometimes meetings can turn out to be real madness, yet they are necessary when you work as a group. Meetings can end up becoming a misery, especially when they are conducted in a way that does not produce results. Whether they are office, church, committee or family meetings, it is possible to survive, even thrive, during those mind-numbing, time-sucking gatherings. In theory, meetings are a great forum for sharing ideas, solving problems, connecting with coworkers, family members or various committee groups, and setting plans in motion. In reality, meetings can be aimless and ineffective, which is why some are totally unproductive.
But before you start blaming others for the direction meetings take, consider that your attitude and behaviour could potentially make matters worse. When people come to a meeting expecting it to be a waste of time, they are far more likely to be disinterested and detached. When they come with a negative attitude, they are likely to be more disruptive than useful. Try these tricks to keep things moving, stay engaged, feel good, and get results from meetings.
When a meeting is all talk and no action
Instead of leaving the group thinking, “Nothing is going to come of that,” volunteer to take responsibility for something you and your colleagues discussed. Find a way to have an impact personally. You will gain a sense of accomplishment and make a good impression.
When you are bored
Resist the urge to doodle. Not only does it send a signal to others that you don’t care, but also you will completely disconnect from what is going on. If you can’t bear to simply sit quietly and listen, take notes. Doing this will help you stay focused so you will get more out of the discussions. Plus you will have a record of the proceedings in case you need to follow up.
When you feel you have nothing to say
To bolster your confidence, be sure to do a little prep work beforehand. At the very least, find out what the meeting is about, review any relevant documents and do a quick search of facts on topics to be discussed. Once things are under way, make a point of offering several approaches to a problem and ask for feedback from the group. This way you will start a lively discussion in no time.
When participants are comatose and cranky
No one is happy when a meeting is called at a short notice or when there is no agenda. Instead of hopping on the negativity bandwagon, change the mood by behaving the way you wish other participants would. Smile when you enter the room and make succinct points, not just complain. Because attitude and behaviour can be contagious, others will follow suit and become much more participatory.
Misery loves company…
Socialising is not the only way to alleviate loneliness. Spending time with a beloved pet or a dependable everyday object (such as a car or mobile phone) can also generate a sense of connection, according to a study by the University of Chicago, USA.
WORDS TO LIVE BY
“Being assertive is always good for friendship because it shows you are willing to own your needs and that you can be trusted to pull your own weight.”
Paul Dobransky, Author
Published on January 2012