Once you have obtained the job of your dreams it is sometimes necessary to attend business or staff meetings and make a contribution to the functioning of the organisation. Attending a staff/business meeting for the first time can be a daunting prospect particularly if you are new to the area of business or the organisation.
To make team meetings more effective you should consider the following:
Read the agenda at least 24 hours before the meeting and make notes on topics that you think you can contribute to. If you find that you have material that could be used in the meetings discussion, copy and share with all members.
Always arrive early for the meeting and sit close to the chairperson so that you are visible to all members. Do not barge into a meeting after it has started. Wait for a break in the discussion and make your way to seat as quickly as possible with the least possible disturbance.
Always bring writing materials and show that you are organised with them. Do not spread papers all over the table; keep all materials together in an organised manner. Always take notes from the meeting.
Be prepared to contribute to the discussion from your original reading and notes on the agenda. Never take part in side conversations or comments with staff members during the meeting.
Always be concise and to the point, when making a contribution to the discussion. Always speak clearly and at the appropriate volume. Staff members do not tolerate new members who take the floor and discuss information irrelevant to the discussion topic.
If you find that you need to disagree with something that has been presented always disagree without becoming disagreeable. Always be respectful of the person with whom you might be disagreeing. Don’t dismiss an idea just because it came from someone else. Remember everyone is unique and this ability to think differently can be the very spark of creativity and innovation that is required.
Never interrupt a speaker until they have finished presenting. Present your thoughts when there is a break in the discussion in a clear and concise manner. A good rule of thumb is to wait two seconds after the person has finished speaking.
Turn off all phones or electronic media for the course of the meeting. If there is anything that you think of after the meeting, send the relevant information to the chairperson within 24 hours.
Be prepared to stay back at the end of the meeting to discuss any topics that you feel that you can contribute to. Never leave the room before the chairperson or rush out of the meeting. Being silent for the entire meeting sends the message to the group that you are easily intimidated or you have not done your preparation for the meeting.
Dress appropriately for the meeting. Always look as though you are paying attention to the discussion and listen attentively. Always be pleasant and friendly and address people by name. Make sure you shake hands and use each person’s name when the meeting is concluded. Make a lasting, last impression.