Again, I know this seems like common sense, but it’s really not. I’m in a lot of meetings and conference calls, and as I’m sure you all know, most meetings are redundant, and time wasters.
Here’s how to shine and look like the confident leader you are during meetings or conference calls!
- Never ask for permission to speak! Holy crap, do NOT do this. I’ve never in my life heard a man ask to speak. Stuff like May I interrupt here?……Would it be O.K. if I interjected?…….Can I please add something here….. Just talk. That’s all. Don’t ask for permission like you’re in grade school. That’s what they teach toddlers.
- Write down your idea, thought, or question BEFORE you speak so that when you actually start talking, you won’t ramble on and ON.
- Never apologize before, during or after you’ve spoken. Stuff like Sorry if I went on too long……I apologize if I interrupted you there……I’m sorry if I wasn’t as clear about this as I could be…… Do you see how weak, how passive this sounds??
- Don’t give a preamble, introduction or personal story when you speak. Nobody cares. All everybody wants is for the meeting to be over. Make your point and stop talking. Seriously, please don’t give some long-winded story about how you got the new client. Your boss only cares that you got a new client, that’s all.
- TMI ! Stop giving so much unnecessary and detailed information. This is by far my biggest pet peeve during meetings and the point at which you can really start changing people’s perceptions of you. Does this sound familiar to you? It just happened on Tuesday during a conference call:
“So, I finally found that client we’ve been eager to get, and we were supposed to meet up on Monday morning, but he cancelled and then he wanted to reschedule for next week, but I tried to encourage him to meet up on Monday night, and he agreed. Then I didn’t know where to take him for the meeting, Starbucks seemed too casual for a dinner meeting, and anyway, we finally decided on Il Fornelo’s and he was actually a really nice guy. We had a good meeting.”
—-OH MY GOODNESS. Get to the friggin point! Did the client sign the contract? That’s all we need to know!! –What she should have said is this:
“So I was finally able to meet with the new client on Monday night and he signed contract.”
–Do you see the difference between the two statements? The 1st one makes you look like a scatter-brain, and the 2nd one makes you look organized, and professional. IF you make enough statements like the 1st one, you’ll find yourself out of the running for any leadership positions. No one will take you seriously.
- Don’t look frazzled when you come to meetings. As in, you shouldn’t be swooping in the door 30 seconds before the meetings starts, carrying three bags and a dripping iced cappuccino. You should look composed and professional at all times. Look like you are a leader, not an intern.
- Look interested and engaged at all times. As soon as you start work, you are “on”, it’s a performance and some people perform better than others. You must look interested in what others are saying, even when they make no sense or are utterly boring. You mustn’t look bored. Pretend you’re on a video call or Skype and people can see your every mannerism and body language. Perform like you’re on stage.
- Stop grooming yourself. This is just so GROSS. Don’t file your nails at work. And for all the women out there, STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR HAIR. I was once so distracted by a student’s obsessive playing with her hair that I actually called her out during lecture. I didn’t mean to embarrass her, but she was working so furiously with her hair that I just couldn’t concentrate, it was so distracting. Also, don’t fiddle with your jewelry, tap your nails on the table, or nervously tap your feet or legs up and down. Wow, have you ever sat next to someone who moves their legs constantly? I’ve gotten up and changed chairs to get away from nervous energy like that.
- Beware of technology. Turn off your phones unless absolutely necessary. If you have your tablet or laptop with you, make sure you don’t have any social media sites popping up. People can see your screen, so make sure whatever is on your screen is professional and in line with the business of the meeting.
Phew! OK, that’s it for now.