How to Put Others at Ease in Meetings – #2 Pay Attention

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?

#2: Pay Attention

The most valuable thing you can do in a meeting situation is to pay attention to the person who’s speaking. It’s also probably the simplest thing you can do – it requires absolutely nothing other than eye contact and patience.

Do not underestimate the next sentence: Using your phone in a meeting really, really annoys people. 

Really. Phones came out at the very top of the list for workplace annoyances: 55% of people surveyed by Doodle said that texting and taking calls during a meeting was their biggest irritation. So, play it smart and keep your personal screens out of the environment as much as you can – which means taking notes with a biro, not a laptop, and your phone should go on silent (a vibrating phone is just as distracting as a ringtone) and stay out of sight.

Remember – even if you’re the most powerful person in the room (or on the Zoom) checking your phone every ten seconds is a clear signal that you don’t care about what’s being said – a quick glance at your inbox says: ‘I have more important things to be doing with my time than listening to you.’

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