|Dear Meeting Guru,
I have recently discovered
that I'm a lousy meeting attendee. If you can
identify a bad meeting behavior, I've probably
demonstrated it. Frequent side conversations,
extraneous comments and lots of nitpicking. I
think I've even invented some bad ones of my own.
So...I know my problem but seem stuck as to how
to fix it. Any suggestions?
It takes great courage to recognize one's shortcomings. Since you've already
come this far, I'm confident you will be able to change your
negative meeting behavior. Here are some ideas for breaking
your bad meeting habits:
Avoid side conversations by writing down questions or comments
as you think of them. If the comments are related to the topic
of the meeting, wait for an opening and share your ideas with
everyone. If they're not, address them after the meeting.
Then start being an active listener pay attention,
make eye contact and respond positively to the presenter.
Also, figure out why you're nitpicking and making unwanted
comments, and take action. If the topics are boring or the
presenters longwinded, come up with some fresh ideas, such
as new ways to meet or new rules for talking out of turn.
Most importantly, determine what's behind your negative behavior.
Are you unhappy with the way meetings are run? Is there not
enough time for attendee feedback? Are you attending too many
meetings? If these things are making you resentful, speak
up before the meeting and suggest some changes
to make your meetings more interesting and effective.
There are many other tips on EffectiveMeetings.com. As a
starting point, read Meetings
101 and How
to Be an Effective Team Member.
As the wise philosopher Confucius
once said, "The real fault is to have faults and not
try to mend them." In other words, don't be so hard on
yourself. At least you realize you need to make some changes
to become a better meeting attendee.
may good meeting karma always be with you.