In The Economist, Bartleby writes about how unproductive meetings are. The columnist proposes the principle that “80% of of the time of 80% of the people in meetings is wasted”. I can’t talk about advantages of meetings for more senior members of teams, but I know that this definitely isn’t true for the most junior practitioners — meetings can teach you a lot. Here’s how to make the most of them.
Make sure you know what your meeting’s about; think if all agenda items are clear and how you can contribute during the meeting. Are you on top of everything that will be discussed? Do you need to do some reading prior to it?
#2 Book a room
Take ownership of admin and think before everyone else. Once the timing of your meeting is confirmed, make sure you book a room for it. When you attend regular catch-ups, bulk book a few weeks in advance.
#3 Take notes
You should be the one writing down everything major that’s being said. Capture everything as accurately as possible. Make formatting clear, make the actions bold, then send your notes across your team and attendees of the meeting.
Even if you don’t have anything to contribute or some agenda items aren’t particularly relevant to your projects, meetings are opportunity for you to learn about your team, the ways your colleagues work, and give you insights into the wider business. Meetings are not time to ponder your lunch options.
Try to contribute and engage — your opinion is valued, too. If you can’t come up with anything insightful to say, don’t talk just for the sake of it. If you’re unsure of something, ask questions (even better if these are the right questions).
#6 A clever piece of research
When I asked Jeremy Waite how to succeed as a junior, he told me to always have a clever piece of research up my sleeve. (Jeremy learnt this from Tom Peters.) This comes down to reading widely and staying curious. You’ll never know when you’ll use. Did you know that the Swiss franc is 18.8 per cent overvalued against the US dollar? That’s suggested by The Big Mac index (as of 2018). You’re welcome.
If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!