How to Put Others at Ease in Meetings – #1 Be Prepared

Meetings are a bit of a problem area in a lot of offices – as Doodle discovered in their 2020 survey, where they studied the Personal Impact of Meetings. 

It seems that a chinwag with colleagues gets us hot under the collar, and this nearly always comes down to effective communication – or the complete lack of it. A whopping 100% of respondents to Doodle’s survey described bad meetings as a waste of time and money, which is… well, 100% is pretty definitive, isn’t it?

The problem is, meetings are unavoidable. Even during lockdown, meeting rooms simply mutated into video conference calls, which had their own set of challenges and irritations. 

So, since it’s clear we’ll never escape them, it’s a very smart move to learn how to conduct yourself properly in a meeting – because the last thing you want to do is make the meeting worse, right?

#1: Be Prepared

Try to go into every meeting with a little information in your pocket. If it’s the first time you’re meeting the group, spend some time on light research, so you’re up to date on everybody’s background. Nothing too intimate – don’t drop their pet’s name into conversation – but a little ‘I looked you up, you’ve had a really cool career’ within the first five minutes is enough to show that you’re engaged and respectful. Most people are quite happy to talk about themselves – lean into that – and if you’re nervous about saying the wrong thing, a little research is a wonderful way to avoid putting your foot in it. 

Obviously, if you’ve met these people before, you should approach the first five minutes of the meeting a little differently. A simple “how’s it going?” should be enough to spark small talk – you’re basically giving somebody permission to have a little moan, and people love to have a little moan. If you’re engaged enough to ask a few follow up questions, you can fill that awkward silence at the beginning of a meeting without issues. If you’re meeting with your superiors, thank them for making room in their day: “Thanks for meeting with me, I know you’re busy.” Superiors love it when their time is valued – and with 62% of managers expressing a feeling of social isolation after receiving a promotion, a little empathy can go a long way.

For more advice on how to navigate your first job, discover how The Employability Experts can help you take your career to the next level.