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Meetings: Who Makes the Most Impact

In every meeting, there are a diverse mix of people and personality types. CEOs and managers are expected to bring oversight and big-picture thinking, while admins and executive assistants are tasked to highlight day-to-day logistical needs. When working as a part of a team, what’s the best way to make a productive impact? Contrary to popular belief, it may not be by leading the conversation. Instead, quite the opposite. While being present in the room is important, oftentimes, our egos may make us talk too much and this can stop us from being open to new ideas.

When Thinking About Team Meetings, Return to the Common Goal: How Can We Grow the Business in the Best, Most Efficient Way Possible?

We can often confuse those who talk the most or loudest with those who are most important or most knowledgeable. But as Tim Denning, writer for CNBC and Business Insider, suggests: “knowing when not to talk is an art. Look at the quiet people.” In every meeting there are those who sit back and observe; they listen as ideas get tossed around, as co-workers talk over each other, as everyone tries to be heard. These are usually the people taking extensive notes, paying attention to the conversations around them and digesting; from sound to brain to action. After the meeting is over, they head back to implement solutions.

Listening = Learning.

Listening can change your life. Denning gives a real-world example from his time working with a Silicon Valley Tech Company. Going into the position, he felt way out of his depth and unsure of where to begin. But after sitting in meetings and quietly listening without speaking, he learned enough information to take notes and draft a plan to implement process improvements. No one had any idea that he started off unsure of where to begin.

Be a Do-er, Not a Talker.

There are, of course, times when the quiet ones need to speak up and participate. But the more we participate, the more we can practice: know when to speak, and know when to listen and learn. Attending meetings, even as a note taker, is a great way to learn and excel in your career. Listening can teach us things our school degrees did not.

As a personal challenge for your next meeting: aim to be the quietest person in the room. You may hear things in ways that others don’t.

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