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Workplace meetings come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the in-person meeting, the conference call, the video conference, and the informal pop-up at the cafe during break time. As pervasive as meetings are, they often get a bad rap in the workplace. Meetings are often viewed as a hindrance to productivity and something to avoid at all costs. However, rather than thinking of meetings as a waste of time, think of them as a unique opportunity to showcase your leadership skills. After all, meetings are at the heart of how teams function and how businesses operate. So if you want to increase your visibility and boost your credibility at work, meetings are the place to do it. Here's how.
1. Show Up
If you want to get ahead in your career, you have to be seen. People need to know who you are and what you bring to the table. The best way to do that is to show up at meetings. Showing up will allow you to become better known by your peers and others in your organization. Make sure the meeting is on your calendar and get there early. Arriving early gives you an opportunity to engage in the all-important informal chit chat that takes place before the meeting begins. It also gives you an opportunity to set the tone in the room by greeting everyone with a warm smile and a positive attitude.
2. Speak Up
At meetings, being seen is only half the battle; the other half is being heard. When you participate in a meeting, read the agenda before the meeting and show up prepared to make insightful and valuable recommendations that will move projects forward. Having a voice during meetings is important if you want to make a positive impression on key stakeholders.
3. Stand Up
Being agreeable isn’t always the best leadership strategy at a meeting. We need to stand for something. Don’t be afraid to stand up for a cause, an issue, a work plan, or strategy that you really believe in and know that you can apply yourself to. Standing up does not require confrontation or aggression. It does, however, require a level of confidence and assertiveness to express an opinion that might not be popular, or to bring something to light that everyone is thinking but afraid to articulate.
4. Step Up
Many people in the workplace think that if they work hard enough at their current jobs that they'll be noticed and eventually promoted. The reality is that working hard on your current assignments isn't enough. Since new projects and leadership opportunities often emerge during meetings, volunteering to take on a project that needs a leader during a meeting is a great way to demonstrate your willingness to take on new challenges. If you do, not only will your work be commended if you do a good job but your ability to step up when needed will be rewarded as well.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, which helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
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