Ditch your grammar book, and leave Business English basics behind. Dominating team meetings requires the use of very subtle gestures.
In our last post, we talked about some of the nuanced and strategic business communication tricks that international professionals should apply in a U.S. meeting setting. Going beyond this, we suggested that the pressure is on for those in consulting, since clients are ultimately paying for an intellectual product—and good intellect must be voiced!
If you’re not a consultant, we still think you should read this. Thinking and behaving like a direct contributor to your company’s bottom line is generally a positive way to walk into work and bound to get you places faster.
Before going any further, we suggest you (consultants and non-consultants alike) brush up by quickly revisiting our last post here.
And now that you’ve brushed up, let’s talk about other ways to steal the show:
4. Making well with the time- Are you the first person to get to the meeting? Are you chronically late? Do try to show up early, which has several advantages. Being punctual shows you respect the meeting facilitator and view the topic with seriousness. Would you be late for an interview?
Getting to the space early also means you can get comfortable with the room, warm up by chatting with someone else who may have arrived early, get a head start on the agenda if the facilitator is there, and perhaps most importantly, pick your own seat at the table. This topic deserves its own section; see point five below.
5. Choosing your seat at the table- This one’s a biggee! Table position is a psychologically complex assignment and much has been studied and written about it. We picked one admired blog post here, “Where to Sit in a Business Meeting . . . and Why It Matters.” Whatever is appropriate to your situation, choose carefully.
6. Taking advantage of follow up communications- Did you share an idea, and no one heard? Or worse, someone heard and maybe took credit for it by way of suggestion later on? The fact is, all suggestions in a meeting are the intellectual content and property of the group, regardless of who says it. There are ways, however, that you can promote your ideas and put yourself out there in more forthcoming approaches.
Some companies use formal protocols to document minutes, assign one person to do a follow up summary e-mail, or have one eager soul put summary points on the white board. Whatever the case, take on one of these new roles, or suggest that such a protocol exist to keep everyone on board. (You should only do this if staying on board is a legitimate need for the group.) In this follow up, you could include a section for meeting attendees, topics discussed, and main points made by each attendee (your name and ideas included). Since this would be a public correspondence, your name and ideas would be appropriately recorded for all to see.
Do be consistent! This can be a laborious task, but persistence and consistency is key.
7. Appearing comfortable- In the last post we mentioned two ways—hand gestures and posture–in which body language affects your ability to contribute and engage comfortably. Now we want you to imagine yourself sitting upright, using powerful hand gestures…in front of an open and empty table. How comfortable do you imagine you would be? Now picture yourself holding a pen, with a notebook in front of you, or a cup a coffee in your hand. Doesn’t that feel better?
Psychologically, there are a lot of reasons why that feels better, but we won’t get into it here. We just want you to feel, and APPEAR, comfortable to your colleagues when you’re at these meetings, and we know this works. Now go! Dominate that meeting with prestige.
We’re excited for some of the recent feedback we have received from Springboards’ blog veterans, and we know you’re watching. But we could go far deeper with these topics if you brought some of your thoughts public (hint, hint…share your comments).
Please stay tuned for future topics on dominating teleconferenced meetings. You want your questions answered on this topic? You know what to do…