In the 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 meeting at the coffee bar 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 be avoided at all costs. But, rather than think about 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. 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 a 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 are afraid to articulate.
4. Step up.
Many women in the workplace think that if they work “hard enough” at their current jobs that they will be noticed and eventually promoted. The reality is that working hard on your current assignments is not enough.
Assess your competencies and volunteer for more challenging assignments that will highlight your skills and capabilities. 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. Not only will your work be commended if you do a good job, but your ability to step up when needed will be rewarded.
Ellie Nieves, JD, MBA, develops webinars, seminars, and coaching programs to help high achieving women show up, speak up, and step up in their careers. She is also the host of the Leadership Strategies for Women Podcast where she shares success tips to help women achieve more both personally and professionally. To learn more, go to: www.EllieNieves.com.