In-person meetings during your workday are supposed to help with collaboration, teamwork, and ensuring that everyone's on the same page for a certain project or goal. But sometimes they can be time wasters or not accomplish the goals set forth — and you’re wishing you could be back at your desk working rather than just talking about it.
In order to ensure your meetings are the most effective they can be, don’t fall into the trap of these 10 ways to kill in-person meetings.
1. Falling asleep
This seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re in an 8 a.m. meeting and a colleague dims the lights to show a presentation, suddenly the urge to catch up on some shut-eye can be overwhelming.
2. Opening noisy food
Maybe you didn’t get a chance to grab lunch, so you’re eyeing your personal-sized bag of potato chips. Fight the urge. Not only will you disrupt the meeting by trying to wrangle the bag open, the crunch when you actually start eating is annoying too.
3. Not turning your phone to silent
There’s nothing worse for someone trying to speak than hearing multiple cell phones blaring to interrupt them — especially if they have embarrassing ringtones. Set yours to silent — not vibrate, silent.
4. Being sick
No one can help when they have a cold, but you can help whether you’re in the office spreading germs. Save your colleagues from your overwhelming coughing and sneezing, and see if you can call into the meeting from the comfort of your home.
5. Dragging the meeting on
When a meeting is scheduled from 1 until 2 p.m., and you’re raising an extraneous point at 1:58 that will take 25 minutes to discuss, you’re going to be the wanted person in the office.
6. Multitasking on your laptop
If you’re not paying attention, people are going to notice, and it’s rude to whomever is talking. Step away from your email and social media for the hour — I promise it’s not that important.
7. Eating tuna
The same goes for leftover Thai food, some McDonald’s, and any other excessively smelly lunch items. Save it for your break.
8. Not dressing appropriately
If you know you have a meeting with clients on a particular day, use it to showcase your professionalism. This is not the day to underdress in a stained t-shirt or jeans.
9. Not being prepared
Never go into a meeting without reviewing your talking points and writing down any questions. If you’re the one person that isn’t prepared to talk about a project, you’re going to stand out — and not in a good way.
10. Playing with your phone
Fiddling with your phone under the conference room table? Yes, everyone can tell what you’re doing. The only reason you should ever even touch your phone during a meeting is for an emergency.
Don’t make these mistakes that can kill an in-person meeting at work. Keeping things rolling and efficient is always the goal, so that everyone can get back to their job caught up, at least, and inspired, at best. And if you're a manager, moderate meetings to ensure they don't traverse off track — that is, if you're interested in driving employee engagement during these sessions.
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