Learn to Attend a Meeting

Like any other part of your job, going to a meeting is worth doing well.  The key is not so much what you do, it’s what you don’t do:

1. Don’t take the meeting off track.  Even if you’re every bit as funny as you think you are, save it for later.
2. Don’t work on your laptop.  If you don’t need to be at the meeting, don’t go.  If you need to be there, but lose interest in what’s going on, bring things to a close.
3. Don’t start side conversations.  Even one of these can distract everyone else.  More than one and no one can hear anything.
4. Don’t yawn, close our eyes, roll your eyes, snicker, or any of the other passive aggressive favorites.

Okay, after 4 "don’ts", things are sounding pretty negative.  Here’s a "do" and a parting thought:

1. Make it worthwhile for everyone (yourself included) to have you in the room.

Once again, like every other part of your job, the time you spend in a meeting is time out of your life.  Time you won’t get back.  Make it count, or spend your time some other way.


  1. Chris L says:

    What are your thoughts on the role of the attendee, in keeping the meeting on the agenda . . . or in ensuring the meeting has a sufficient agenda in the first place?

    What are your thoughts on The Walkout?

  2. Jay Grieves says:

    While it's great when an attendee can help make a meeting successful, I don't see it as required. It's still the organizer's job, so the minimum requirement is to not get in the way.

    The Walkout is a tough one. If it can be done in a way that doesn't cause any problems (like during a break), then it's easy. If it's going to cause a scene, be sure that it's worth it.