Whether you view them as essential to productivity or a complete waste of time, in the business world, meetings are here to stay and your behavior when attending them can serve to showcase your worth or undermine your credibility. Here are 9 actions to avoid in all meetings.
1. Using Phrases That Imply Deception
Avoid phrases like “to be honest” or “let me be honest with you” as they imply two rather negative messages to your audience, the first is that you haven’t been honest until this point and the second is that as you are so eager to assure everyone of your honesty, you are probably not being completely truthful. These phrases make you sound disingenuous and can derail your overall message.
2. The Hard Sell
Meetings are a time for open, honest discussion, meant to drive a project forward, they are not an appropriate venue for hard sell techniques. It would be wise to avoid being pushy or trying to force your agenda by distorting the facts or exaggerating the importance of your point.
3. The Excessive Use of Buzz Words
Every industry has its own unique vocabulary of buzz words, popular jargon that exists within a specific context. These words are typically used as a crutch in business meetings and while some may feel that their use may makes them appear knowledgeable, most listeners see through them clearly.
Try to avoid such overused terms as synergy, proactive, value-added, leverage, agile, growth hacker etc…
4. Being Unnecessarily Vague
Sometimes, to avoid committing to something, it might seem attractive to present your ideas in an overly vague manner. Don’t be afraid to commit yourself in a meeting by outlining the exact, actionable specifics of your plan or idea.
5. Using Inappropriate Humor
There is no quicker to destroy your credibility than to introduce some inappropriate humor at your next business meeting. We might think that a slightly off-color joke could help to lighten the mood and make us for likable, however, the end result is almost always the exact opposite, the offending of our coworkers and the destroying of our professional image.
Avoid jokes of a racial, sexual or religious nature.
6. Interrupting Others
Allow everyone their opportunity to speak and to completely express their thoughts, uninterrupted. By extending this courtesy to others, they will be more likely to extend it to you and allow you to fully put forth your ideas. Don’t take the attitude that interrupting others makes you appear to your superiors as a dominant worker. Your boss will appreciate your ability to work well in a team environment.
7. Failure to Take Responsibility
Everyone hates the guy that is first in line when praise is being handed out but nowhere to be found when something goes wrong. Take responsibility for the work that you do, even when that work is subject to criticism.
Avoid putting the blame on others or throwing a team member under the bus. Learn to take responsibility for your actions and accept feedback gracefully, standing behind your work and the other members of your team.
Be realistic about exactly what you can deliver and do not over-promise when you are feel that you are under pressure. Even though overstating your abilities may make you look good in the immediate term, it will hurt you in the long run as you fail to deliver on your promises.
Take an honest evaluation of the work in front of you and give an honest estimate of the time and budget that will be required to deliver.
9. Looking at Your Phone
Keep your phone in your pocket. Everyone in the room is busy, however, the very point of meeting in person is to focus the team’s attention on the tasks at hand. Avoid checking your emails or messages while you are in a meeting or you risk appearing inattentive.
Avoid these common meeting pitfalls and maintain your business credibility.
Featured photo credit: le temple du chemisier via flickr.com