Meetings can be productive, and a great chance for a team to bounce ideas off each other. They can also take valuable time away from your work, leaving you with a pile of tasks to do and no clear end in sight.
If they’re used wisely, a meeting can be a chance to catch up with your team and get insights into the work you’re doing. So use your meeting time wisely and think smart to get things done. Here are a few little tricks to keep in mind for a productive and positive meeting.
Ask the right questions
The right questions are smart and well considered. They flag potential problems in strategies and help garner solutions. To come up with more questions that help a productive meeting, you need to learn to think strategically and train your brain. Watch some TED talks and challenge the speaker’s ideas.
Come up with as many questions as you can about what they’re presenting. You can also try a brain training app to help you think on your feet and be more strategic.
It’ll require you to listen to more than just the words that are spoken in the meeting, but think ahead about what’s being proposed.
During meetings it’s easy to get caught up in the details, you can spend a lot of time talking about the past and not enough talking about the future. Be the innovator in your meeting and help the conversation flow on to more productive topics. I’d recommend reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
But as a starting point, make sure you always know your ‘why.’ Why are you being set these targets? Why aren’t you hitting them? Being prepared with knowledge, facts and figures can never hurt.
Use psychological tricks
My favorite book, Methods of Persuasion, will definitely help you in meetings. You will learn how to psychologically influence those around you to think a certain way, which can be a real asset if you want people to enjoy your presentation or side with you in an argument for instance.
There are so many tricks in this book you can use in a meeting. For example, asking other attendees how they’re feeling will prime them into a good mood, using statistics can make people agree with you more readily, and asking for a small favor makes people more likely to commit to a big one later on. Find out more about what the book taught me here.
Use an improv trick
If you’re giving a presentation, you want to appear knowledgeable. You can use an improv trick to do this. When you see an opportunity to add to the conversation or someone asks you a question try to answer with “Yes and…” This simple trick is great for effective brainstorming and creative thinking. This trick makes you think on your feet and will help to train your brain.
Record now, make notes later
Making notes is the best way to retain information, but it can actually distract from a good meeting. Set your phone up to record the meeting and leave it on the table, this will stop you from getting distracted and keep you engaged in the topics being discussed. Later, you can type up your notes and make them available to everyone else, or simply keep the most important points for yourself.