How To Act Smart In Meetings

How To Act Smart In Meetings

Do you have an important meeting coming you, and you don`t want to mess it up?

Follow these easy guidelines and boost your career!

Whether you are chairing a meeting or merely participating it is important to be across the Agenda and have done some research into ‘actions’ from the previous meeting. The best meetings are usually when tasks have been allocated, carried out by committee members, and bought back to the meeting for discussion and hopefully, finalization, passing, and closing agenda items will enable us to move on, and we all want closure.


A meeting is an essential gathering of key people, that allows us to exchange information and make decisions. If you were not knowledgable and informed on the topics covered in the meeting you would not be on the meeting committee. Meetings can get very bogged down if they lack a decisive chairman/woman, so to make the best decisions it is important to set a time limit of the meeting, 1 hour is long enough.

Since lockdown virtual meetings have been taking place on Zoom and Skype these are time-saving, and once people adjust to them they may well continue.

In some workplaces, meetings are almost daily, and the higher up in management you are the more meetings you will be required to attend. In one workplace the job description required the Manager to attend 20 regular monthly meetings, and you would have to be really careful not to mix them up! That is too many meetings for one person to be mentally available for.


  • Pool and develop ideas
  • To solve problems
  • Plan for future
  • Decision making
  • Create and develop an understanding
  • Provide a sense of direction
  • Encourage initiative
  • Create a cohesive common purpose.


  • Content, bring your knowledge, experience, and information to the meeting.
  • Interaction is based on how the participants work together to deal with the content of the meeting. This requires respect and participation.
  • Structure is the way the information is organized.
  • Outcomes, when an item or problem on the agenda is closed and has a result it is removed from the agenda.


Meetings perform the following functions:

  • Information
  • Consultation
  • Problem-solving
  • Decision making

Nearly all meetings combine the above functions, and the problem-solving aspect can be drawn out and dependent on consultation.


Prior preparation is very important as the success of the meeting and decisions made often depend on it. The chairperson is also important as they are the person who either keeps proceedings moving along or allows them to get bogged down.

The role of the chairperson is:

  • Limit and control discussion of agenda subjects, and encourage participants to stay on task.
  • To develop and encourage harmony.
  • Motivate people to contribute.
  • Before the meeting starts the chairperson should remind the group of the purpose( this helps anyone new).
  • Some agenda items may be ‘standing items’, and these should be discussed quickly.
  • Clarify any ‘tricky’ wording for the ‘minute taker’.
  • Is the meeting necessary, as unnecessary meetings are a waste of time, some meetings may only need to be held quarterly?
  • How should the meeting be planned? This depends on the reason, it may be a means of distributing information to various departments.
  • Preparation should include time and place, is the meeting always held at the same venue or does it move around?
  • The agenda should be circulated prior to the meeting by the secretary, and items for discussion added.


The agenda for the meeting has been set and you have an item to ‘feedback’ on, to the group. Your feedback should be clear and coherent.

There is a lot of information to hand out so keep your item time-limited, there is nothing worse than someone who rambles on for 10 minutes.

Your future leadership readiness will be measured on your ability to speak clearly when giving information to the group, and it is important to strike a good balance. So you are there for the meeting and you will need to contribute, and not just sit there looking at your phone.

Have what you want to say written down in bullet points as a prompt. Remember you have the ability to affect the decisions being made.

Sometimes comments are better left for one on one conversations, and the issue may be better not aired publicly, you learn this type of judgment as you go through your career. The right interaction in meetings will raise your visibility, and help build relationships of trust.

How to act smart in meetings will certainly help to bring you to the attention of your boss and hopefully gain future promotion.


If you are a recent graduate it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about the structure and hierarchy of your new workplace.

Once you get the hang of it you will be ready to volunteer to attend certain meetings and to sit on committees. Work Health and Safety is a good place to start, do some online training, and attend the monthly meeting. You will most likely end up with a qualification in WH&S, which will be useful in the future, and prove to be a smart decision.


Nearly half the meetings are rated as ‘poor’ by attendees, and none of us want to waste time and money on ineffective meetings. Sometimes this happens because the same people have been representing their departments for too long and the meeting needs new blood. So the chairperson should suggest that all departments rotate and introduce a new person to the committee while they step down. The chairperson should thank them for their time and welcome the new members, usually, this will solve the problem and the chairperson should also rotate annually.


When you have been in the workplace for a few years you will really understand how it works and get a handle on the meetings. I can never understand why some staff won’t volunteer for committees and meetings as they are just holding themselves back from future opportunities and promotions, and they will probably still be in the same position when you are the General Manager.

Related Posts