If you are attending a meeting that somebody else is running it can be tempting to resign yourself simply to listening. Whilst listening properly is an important skill which we’ll cover in this lesson, a meeting’s success is partly down to it’s participants accepting a share of the responsibility for making it work.
An average employee attends 62 meetings per month, which is about 15 meetings per week. If you’re a senior level manager or executive of a company, on average, you will spend about 60% of the time in meetings, which means 23 hours per week.

Lack of participation in a meeting can create a real roadblock to achieving the meeting’s goal; whether that’s to brainstorm some new ideas or come up with a plan of action for carrying out a new project. Whilst it’s the meeting host’s responsibility to provide a clear structure for the meeting and to create an environment where participants feel like they are able to contribute to the discussion, it’s down to the meeting’s participants to cooperate with others to explore new ideas and solutions.

Particularly as a junior employee who is still getting familiar with the world of work and the company itself, your role in a meeting may seem unclear: how do you participate when you don’t feel like you know the subject well enough? Don’t worry, there are some techniques we’ll cover in this lesson to help you overcome this.

How to prepare for a meeting

Preparation is key when it comes to making sure that you get the most out of any meeting you attend. Here 5 key things to think about before attending a meeting:

  • Do you know everybody attending the meeting? If not, make sure you look them up either on LinkedIn or your company intranet (if they are internal). There is no excuse for not knowing who is in the room with you.
  • Are you clear on what the meeting is about? If you have been sent material to read beforehand make sure you have read it. Research any wider topics if you are unclear or ask for clarification from the meeting host or relevant colleague beforehand.
  • Do you have any initial thoughts or ideas? Jot these down so you can go into the meeting with something prepared. This will also give you time to develop your thoughts before the meeting starts, putting you in a better position when the meeting discussion gets going.
  • Have you got a notebook and pen with you? Never turn up to a meeting without this! Not only does it look unprofessional, you should always need to take some notes during a meeting.
  • Are you going to arrive on time? Even if it’s an internal meeting, check that you know how to get to the meeting room beforehand. Turning up late to a meeting, particularly when you are junior, doesn’t look good and it’s very easy to avoid.

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