A lot of work in organizations takes place in meetings. There are a number of things to learn about your role in these meeting as a young profession.
First, be respectful of where people sit. Professional are like students in a classroom. They have a favorite place to sit. Before you sit down, ask others where they suggest you sit.
Next draw a picture of the meeting table. Record people’s names where they sit. This is a good visual way to remember names and even what was said.
Take notes. You don’t need a transcript but just key points being made. Taking notes will help you accomplish two things:
- They will help you stay focused on what is being discussed
- They will help you think through your own thoughts
Record your own thoughts. Just make simple one line descriptions. You may want to put a ¶ by these thoughts so you can refer to them when you speak.
Wait for an opportunity to contribute. You don’t want to be the first to speak. But you also don’t want to make people call on you. You may have some unique perspective because of your new position with the organization. You may be seeing the issue with fresh eyes and by virtue of this, you may have something interesting to add.
At first you may be surprised by the tone of the discussion in a meeting. Many meetings can become very heated. In some organizational cultures, it’s common to see people go at each other. Don’t be fooled by these heated exchanges. Once the meeting is over, the individuals who were having a heated discussion will be making plans for a golf game. You will need to adjust your style to the culture of the organization. You can’t be intimidated by how others respond to each other. But you need to be yourself also. Don’t try to imitate the attack style of others, if that’s not your style.
Another organizational style issue is how prompt people are in attending meetings. In some organizations, you won’t dare show up late. In other organizations, people are more casual about when meetings start. As a young professional, you can’t afford to be late.
Finally, at the conclusion of the meeting, review any follow up actions of the meeting, review any follow up actions with others. This is a good habit to get into in all cases, but it’s especially important for a young professional..