5 Ways to Impress During a Meeting — (I’m Working on #1 Myself)

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post, and there’s a very good reason for this. I recently left my job supervising a call center, and moved back into the technology field doing PHP Development work for a local publishing company. Yay for me, and for you! Now that I’ve settled back down again, and gotten back into rhythm, I have a little more ability to write.

My first post I want to do for you is something that I’ve been focusing on. This change of job is more then just a change of occupation, I’m moving back into my career path, which is immensely important, as it’s where I intend to be working until I retire. So, I have put together a list of things that help you impress during meetings.

5. Don’t use jargon

Jargon are words that sound good, but don’t actually say anything. Forbes as done a remarkable job listing some of the worst offenders, so I won’t reiterate. Just don’t use it.

How Will It Help

The reason why is actually quite simple: It’s not memorable. Nobody cares if you’re using the same jargon as everyone else. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to put the effort into forming actual thoughts and ideas, instead of just telling everyone that you need to “synergize” your team, and “buy-in” to the new way of “moving the needle” — ok, so I reiterated, just a bit.

Instead, try to focus on the actual problem. This will show your co-workers, and your boss, that you understand what the actual concern is, and that you’re focused on finding the solution, instead of parading around pretending to know what you’re talking about, when in reality you’re just another suit full of fear that you’re not going to make it past the next rung in the ladder.

4. Ask questions

Questions seem like they’re something to avoid during a meeting, but in reality they’re not. You might have this belief that those who ask questions are those who don’t understand their job, but this is complete and utter bollocks. Those who ask questions understand their job the most. Know why? Because they asked the fucking questions that’s why.

How Will It Help

Your boss didn’t get where she is by not asking questions. She asks them everyday. You know, when it feels like she’s trying to size you up, and see where your project is? She’s really…sizing you up, and seeing where your project is. Because that’s her job.

She asks questions of her bosses, as well. If she’s the CEO, she asks questions of the share holders. She also asks them of the buying public. Because that’s what business is. It’s a ton of questions, and very few quality answers. If you can begin supplying those answers, you convert yourself into a priceless asset, and one that they will keep around for the long haul.

3. Show Up On Time

This is true about anything, but especially meetings. If you’re not on time, you had better come with a damn good reason. And not an excuse, either. A reason. As in, you had come across an immediate concern in the company servers, and instead of making the meeting’s start time, you spent an extra 10 minutes shoring up that security hole, so the company intranet didn’t go down while you were discussing the coming month’s budget.

Because if you’re not on time, you’re not important.

How Will It Help

In college showing up fashionably late might have been the it thing to do, but this isn’t college, and there will not be beer. Unless of course you’re working for Sam Adam’s. Either way, don’t be late. Your boss doesn’t want people he can’t rely on. He wants to know that if he says he needs you somewhere at 10 O’Clock, you’re going to be there 15 minutes early, and nearly finished, before he arrives.

That’s why you need to have a reason to be late. Because you can’t always be on time, emergencies do arise, but if you have a reason to be late, you can tell your boss, hey, it’s okay, I got to this one before you even knew I needed to.

That’s the ultimate early.

2. Close Your Damn Mouth

Some people think that to sound smart, and get their name out there, they need to contribute every thought that runs through their pretty little skull. This is not true, and in fact will only serve to damage your reputation.

How Will It Help

Think of it like this, you’re definitely going to hit a bulls eye once in a while if you continuously slog a shovel full of cow shit at it. This isn’t impressive, because at the end of the day you have a wall covered in cow shit, and a shit smelling bulls eye that nobody wants to touch.

Now that I’ve said all that, it might seem like a bad time to follow it up with…

1. Open Your Damn Mouth

Yes, this seems like completely different modes of advice, but they’re not. Just as there are some people that can’t seem to shut the hell up, there are also those who don’t seem to ever want to open their mouths. I’m one of them. It’s not that I don’t feel my ideas are useful, in fact I believe my ideas are pure gold and should be implemented without edit–which is why I never bring them up. Because my ideas are not pure gold. No idea is.

How Will It Help

Even though my ideas aren’t pure gold, they are good. And with a little polishing and buffing from the team, they can be great. That’s what meetings are for. To find the good ideas, and polish them as a group, and once they’re polished you all head off into your corners and work on your portion.

Your ideas might not seem great to you, or they might seem too precious to even consider offering up your opinion, for fear that you’re not as smart as you think you are. But, the only way to really find out is to put yourself out there, and try. There’s a saying in the chess world that you never become a better player until you compete against a player who is your better.

Basically what that means is, unless you challenge yourself, you’re going to stay the same. And just as you don’t want to stay in the same job forever, your boss doesn’t want to promote someone who never grows.

The trick is to only open your mouth when you believe the idea actually contributes to the issue at hand. So, when they’re discussing how to expand the stagnant mailing list on the website, don’t chime in that if you did a cold calling campaign you might be able to expand profit margin. Sure, that could be a good idea, but the issue is the mailing list. A better idea might be to suggest making some minor edits to the form, and running a split test to get some data on which performs better. It’s specific enough to get people focusing in the direction they need to be, and vague enough that you don’t imprint anything specific. Let the others handle the specifics, you’re guiding them to the idea.

One might say, you’re leading.