Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Office Survival Guide: Meetings Edition

Any office job will require at least the occasional meeting. They are easier once you know what to expect but being the new person and going to meetings can be scary and there are lots of opportunities to screw yourself over.

One on One meetings with your Boss

1. Preparation is key. Have everything you might be talking about printed out and organized. Make a list of all the things you have been working on. This way its easier to see where you are on certain projects and remember if you have any questions.

2. Bring a notebook and pen and write all your next steps down. Hopefully your a much more efficient employee then me and have lots of projects your working on...remembering when you get back to your desk all the things your boss told you to do is MUCH easier when you write it all down. Possibly beside the list you made after step one.

3. Get your questions ready. You have your boss alone for a scheduled time, this is your chance to pick their brain about everything you have been wondering about. sidebar: asking your boss random questions in the day is okay, it shows your working...but if you can wait to ask it during a scheduled meeting time its best.

4. When your new, use these meetings to figure out what kind of person your boss is. Neat? Messy? Married? Sporty? Other jobs they have had? This will help with conversation starters and creating a personal bond with them.

Group Meetings

1. Do not sit at the head of the table. Thats your bosses seat.

2. If you know ahead of time that it is a large meeting, DO NOT SIT AT ALL. For things such as department meetings or large team meetings, the important people sit around the table and you get to lean/stand/sit on something around the room. (we have these counter things that run around the perimeter of the room that everyone who isn't important can sit on, but if no one else is sitting don't just park your butt down on a table)

3. Offer up your seat to anyone with more responsibility then you -if they are standing and your sitting. they probably won't take it but at least they will know you are aware of your scum status in comparison to them.

4. Don't speak unless you are spoken too. At least at first. I know it sounds harsh but you don't know how these meetings are run and an outspoken new person is just annoying.

5. If you feel you have something to say and no one has thought to ask you your opinion, speak up when the topic is nearing a close. Most of the time people will ask, 'any more questions or comments?' this is your chance. don't fuck it up.

6. Sit up and at least appear like you are paying attention. its good to know what other people are working on (this translates to you knowing what skills they have so you can tap into them later if you need them for something)

7. take notes. there is a reason I am telling you to write everything down. when you don't write something down, and then try and remember it later you're going to realize why i am so anal about this.

8. If the meeting is catered, do not take any more food then someone has already taken. first of all you will probably look like a pig, second most meetings won't really start until everyone is finished eating and you don't want to be the person everyone is waiting for.

9. If your starving take the appropriate amount of food at the beginning of the meeting and then wait until the end to take a second run at the food. slowly pack up your stuff so you can grab a few things to eat at your desk. no one will mind and wasted food is a shame.

I think that's it. for now anyway. Have a sunny Wednesday!

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