#GirlBoss Series: What to Do in Every Meeting

If there is one thing that I abhor in the corporate life, it's the sometimes, mind numbing meetings that are set to repeat forever at x time of the day, and day of the week. This particular instance's frequency increases the older you get and older you get in the company, so being mindful of meetings and how it uses up time and energy is a must. I'm guilty of sometimes letting meetings run its course but 70% of the time, I incorporate steps to ensure I only spend time on what matters and have enough desk time and solitude + freedom to work the way that makes me most productive.

  • Set a quota to your meetings per day. If I can help it, and if it's not an urgent matter, I try to set only up to 60% of the time. As much as possible, I clear my first hour in the morning and use this time to plan my day, read the important emails and steady myself for the rush of work that comes in through the day.
  • Don't be the wallflower. In big companies such as where I work, a small meeting can easily blow up to 20 attendees and if you arrive late, you'll end up sitting near the door, or against a wall. While this seems innocent, being a wallflower make you seem irrelevant to the meeting and therefore, can be a waste of space. To counter this, make your presence felt for the right reasons such as voicing out important points, contributing to the conversation and keeping quiet when there's a need to listen.
  • Unnecessary Duration. It was when I was in the FMCG industry that the concept of a 30-minute meeting by default was introduced. I'm not sure how it came about but for some reason, ALL meetings are set to an hour when some instances, issues should've been discussed via an email or could've been a 15-minute chat. Be mindful of the agenda and stick to a shorter duration if the situation calls for it.
  • Leave with Forward Actions. {self explanatory but important!} and identify the next meeting if necessary.
  • Add a personal touch. I never quite understand how some meetings can be quite stiff -- like no personal greetings, no smiles, no anything. I find that a joyful greeting in the beginning of each meeting sets the tone for the meeting and the whole day so I try to do it more often. This especially applies to folks on the client side who don't greet their agency counterparts. This is an easy way to build rapport!

Got any tips on how to handle meetings?