Most people aren’t big fans of meetings. In fact, 17 percent of workers say they’d literally rather watch paint dry than attend one.
However, for many professionals, meetings are still a mandatory part of working life. And the truth is that even the worst meetings can be an opportunity to learn something — if you have the right perspective.
Here’s how to make the most of your meeting experience:
1. Enjoy the break
You might feel like meetings aren’t an efficient use of your time. You have a long to-do list and pressing deadlines looming over you, but you still have to spend an hour in a meeting.
It can be easy enough to feel a little resentful about having to attend. But, since this is non-negotiable, don’t waste even more of your energy fighting it. Instead, take this as an opportunity to have a bit of a break.
Even the worst meetings provide you with the chance to slow down a little. As long as you’re not running the show, meetings are times where you can mostly be quiet and listen. So, try to enjoy the break from your usual pace.
2. Be prepared
Being prepared for any meeting that you attend will help you to maximize the experience.
Bring a folder with any and all materials you might need. Review the agenda when it’s provided and keep it handy during the meeting. Also, be sure to write down any questions you have in advance, or as they come up, so that you can ask them during appropriate times.
You’ll get more out of meetings when you’re engaged and prepared, and you’ll be setting a good example for others to follow while you’re at it as well.
3. Listen and learn
You should mostly be doing a lot of listening during any meeting that you attend. Instead of doing so passively, without really processing the ideas and goals that are being shared, make an effort to really listen.
Make eye contact, ask questions and try to understand all of the big ideas being presented. You can learn a lot about an organization, and the individuals that work within it, when you take the time to really pay attention.
Plus, you’ll make a good impression on the folks running the meeting, and anyone else attending, when you participate appropriately and stay engaged.
4. Use the time to deepen connections
Meetings are great time to connect with your coworkers and strengthen your bonds. You can do this through exchanging ideas during the meeting, of course. However, there is also something to be said for goofing off just a little on occasion, too.
Having a fun at work actually is important and laughter and humor boost performance. So, enjoy this opportunity to spend a little time with people that you work with and strengthen and deepen those connections through shared experience.
5. Demonstrate your abilities and share your interests
Meetings can be a drag, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Many companies use them to help organize upcoming assignments and projects. So, stay engaged, and positive, during meetings.
Think of them as opportunities to demonstrate your abilities and share your interests. When something comes up that sounds interesting to you, express that. If you have a skill that could benefit a certain project, offer it up.
Meetings can provide opportunities to get involved in aspects of your organization’s work that intrigue you. You might just enjoy your job more in the future if you can find ways to make the most of the meetings you’re attending now.
Tell Us What You Think
How do you make the most of a bad meeting? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.