This matters because meetings are so important a part of life that behavior at them is career-determining. This especially applies to the art of listening and the speed of comprehension.
Read the papers relating to the meeting beforehand. Be prepared. This means you don’t play catch up during a meeting and can spend 100% of the time actively listening.
Simplifying the message makes it easier to follow a meeting
Write yourself a page of main points from the papers so you can focus on the key issues and listen harder.
Be in a good mood because you’ll listen better
Geniality can really help you pay attention, however serious the subject. Bad-tempered meetings seldom establish anything other than raising stress levels. And people don’t hear each other half as well when under stress.
Avoid point scoring because you’ll be thinking about what comes next
Do not be a smart aleck. It’s so easy to become one by irritatingly correcting the errors of others. Point scorers don’t listen except for opening and errors. Points scorers make everyone else’s hearing deteriorate.
Don’t be rude because it distracts people
Do not whisper to your neighbor. It is bad manners, irritating, and makes people listen to you and not what’s really going on in the meeting.
Don’t be a geek because it confuses people
And when people are confused they start rifling through the filling cabinets in their brain for information and stop listening. Keep whatever you have to say very simple and to the point. Think of the listeners and don’t show off.
Listen, watch, and work out what is going on
Watch what is going on and try to understand the interplay between different people in the meeting. Meetings contain layers of political intrigue. Who distrusts whom? Who is trying to impress whom? Who is a conservative and who is a risk-taker? Who’s at risk? Who on the way up? What is being said? What isn’t being said? What is actually meant?
You need to keep on learning if you want to keep up in a global economy that’s constantly changing and providing nasty shocks.
Why you must be a learning machine
The idea of having to say at school for the rest of your life, even if having to do lots homework, may seem a bit disagreeable. But learning is just absolutely essential to getting on in life. In our new knowledge economy it’s obvious that we will all have to smarten up. If we aren’t turbocharging our brains on a regular basis, we’ll lose out to our global competitors who seem to find working very hard and improving their skills a lot less disagreeable than many of us seem to find it. While comparisons between work performance country by country used to be quite difficult, now we cross continents to find better value or better quality with ease. But being clever is not enough – it never was it’s all about your energy, stability, and grace as well. But let’s start with getting our smarts even smarter.
Why being a learning fanatic earns you more money
Employers pay for skills. MBAs earn more, graduates earn more people who go to management courses earn more. Whatever your job, be it marketing, HR, finance or whatever, ask yourself if you are up to speed with the latest developments or theories in the field. If you are, you’ll enhance your employability. Are you spending enough time listening to bright people who are expert in their subjects – at conferences, at lectures or in meetings? Are you reading the key magazines in your field and a variety of business books? Have you thought of getting new qualifications? An MBA may seem a daunting thought but consider it. If you can’t do it any other way, do it through an online university. Fill your brain with new stuff on the key areas of concern that impact on any business.
Seeing the bigger picture, seeing what needs to be done, creating a plan, delivering a result.
everyone needs a career strategy
One of the trickiest little words in business vocabulary is “strategy.” It’s tricky because so few people seem to know what it means. So let’s keep it simple – it means a simple plan for success, it means defining where you want to get to and then providing a route map to show how you are going to get there. So, destinations and strategy are what any successful careerist needs. You wouldn’t do anything important at work without having a strategic plan now would you? Everyone needs a career strategy – everyone. It doesn’t mean to say it can’t change, because people change, things happen, ambition is often shaped by circumstance, and life is unpredictable. Write your strategy now under these simple headings:
- What do you want to achieve? -Money -Security -Power -Status
- How many different jobs am I prepared to look at and in what sectors?
- What am I most interested in?
- What is the essential me and what I could be?
- What are my strongest asset/talenrs?
- What are my weaknesses?
- How would I sell myself in brief(the key plus point)?
- What would my friends say about me?
- How well have I done so far(three examples of achievement)?
- What is the likely route map for my career? - Number of moves - Special skills - Continuing education learning - Milestone moment
Well, if you have now been through the exercise you may have a better sense of where you want to go and what it will take to get there. We’d expect to go through this and more in writing the strategic plan for a more vital and important brand-ourselves-we get awkward, embarrassed and tongue-tied. Why? It really is crazy, isn’t it? Well, that’s the “head” way of going about it. The cerebral, strategic approach to career development and to making it happen for you. It’s your own secret marketing plan for success. But there’s a parallel way you should try-using your gut and your heart.
What is WOW? It stands for “Walk on Water.” It is that moment “when one’s wonderful” – when you’ve made a good speech or you’re reveling in your manager’s praise. It is a moment of sheer infallibility, when nothing is impossible, when you want them all to “bring it on.” Everyone has moments in their life when they do something that turns on a light in their head and when they become reborn in some intriguing way. It’s that moment when you – and the outside world – look on you with new eyes and see new talent. It is, in short, a career-defining moment. It is like falling in love. But falling in love with what you do.
Making the magic WOW moment happen
by believing you can
You don’t hope for the best, you don’t pray for it, you visualize yourself doing it. The next time someone says, “Can you do something?” say “Yes,” and then work out how you are going to get it done. Someone you like and trust will help you and make that idea of WOW moment come to your life. Someone will mentor you. They themselves probably “wing” it a bit now, but in you they’ll see the energy, hope, and nervousness of a younger them. WOW moment happens when you believe in yourself, work at it, share ideas, and listen to experts.
Always be prepared
You do this through really knowing your stuff. You won’t walk on water if your knowledge is leaky. Always be prepared, know your story, know the facts. And be prepared to withstand any amount of challenge or rebuttal. Don’t be caught unprepared. Be ready to stand up and sock it to them. More walk-on-water moments are achieved by a good public performance than anything else. The more practiced you are the more effective your walking will be.
Know your job
Without doubt, there is no substitute for learning your role inside out. Therefore you should invest time to ensure you fully understand your role, the key tasks, how your performance is measured, how your work impacts others and how your output is used by others. Once you know your role really well, you will command respect and be seen as the expert in that area of the business. The expertise you have gained may relate to the processing of expenses, sales calls, facilities management, recruitment or any other area of your company’s undertakings. This concept applies to every type of role, throughout your career.
Learn from your peers
In many jobs your peers will already have the answers to a lot of your questions. Your peers may have all the answers as well, but asking your peers for help is the most obvious step for each of us to take. Also, nobody likes to inundate their boss with questions. Therefore, depending upon the structure of your department and/or business, you could dramatically increase your productivity by leveraging the skills and knowledge of those around you. Particularly in the early days of your role your peers may be able to point out various potential pitfalls.
You cannot get away from it. Planning is so very important and is something that we are taught about at school but many still fail to plan adequately when at work. From junior to senior staff we so often see the impact of poor planning on the productiveness of individuals. Before undertaking any significant tasks spend time planning out what you want to achieve and determine the best ‘effective’ way of achieving it. Through planning and the sharing of your plan with others, while also asking for feedback, you will no doubt find that you are better placed to achieve the desired results.