Effective Meetings Behavior Part 5 - Posture

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I make meetings effective when I'm not running them?
  • How do I make a good impression during meetings?
  • How do I demonstrate engagement during meetings?

We're all in meetings all the time, right? So how come there's not an instruction manual? We all complain about them. But no one seems able or willing to do something about it. We will.

We shared - 3 years ago - our recommendations on how to RUN an Effective Meeting. What about our recommendations for how to behave when you're NOT running the meeting?

We have a series of recommendations, because meetings take up so much of our professional lives. In this cast, #5 in a series we'll build up over time, we talk about how to be a participant once the meeting gets started.


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You are right, exactly right on this

You are right, exactly right on this one.

Guys, good cast. I didn't

Guys, good cast.

I didn't understand the comment re. taking notes though. We have a whole cast about effective note-taking, but in this cast, you say it looks sinister and non-team... is there a distinction you have in mind as to which kind of meetings you should and shouldn't take notes in? Or is the point to just take sporadic notes of actions, vs. trying to write down a transcript?

arc1, Mark said that leaning back

arc1,

Mark said that leaning back with the notepad in your hand while taking notes could appear sinister. Having the notepad on the table, and leaning forward to write, is appropriate posture.

John

I have a question. I am a short person.

I have a question. I am a short person. If I bring the chair to its highest position, my feet dangle. I can not reach the floor. For comfort sake, I like to lower my chair to allow my feet to touch the ground. When my feet dangle, I tend to feel like a kid at the big people's table. Any regardless of what height my chair is, I still look small in it. Any thoughts about us small people?

Arc1- What we meant was leaning back

Arc1-

What we meant was leaning back and holding your notes in front of you but off of the table looks sinister. Note taking on the table is completely fine. Sorry for the confusion!

Mark

Mark - got you, thanks. Indeed that

Mark - got you, thanks. Indeed that would likely spook people!

Cocasio- Great question, and I

Cocasio-

Great question, and I regret not addressing this in the cast. to make sure I cover all the bases:

If you are short enough that your feet dangle, but that's a good height for you to keep your arms on the table apprpriately, then I would suggest (though some dsiagree with me) to let your feet dangle. No one else can see them...let your concerns go.

If you are short enough that no matter what you do, you're going to appear short at the table, even with the chair all the way up, then lower the chair to get comfortable.

The key here is you want to be seen as about as tall (read: powerful, unfortunately) as everyone else in the room (from their perception, not your dangling feet). If there is nothing you can do to achieve that, then be comfortable.

Mark

Mark, Thanks for the answer. Just

Mark,

Thanks for the answer. Just started listening to your show and really like it. Keep up the great work.

I attended a meeting yesterday and

I attended a meeting yesterday and while thinking about this podcast, I realized I do just about everything wrong. I sit low, lean back, rock, slouch, look at the agenda or notes while someone is speaking, check emails, etc. During the meeting, I also noticed every single person in the meeting did several of the same things.

Yesterday, I raised my seat to the highest point, sat up straight, pulled up to the table, squared up to each speaker, and kept my hands on the table. What a difference it made to my own ability to pay attention and participate! I was more focused and participated more then usual. I also noticed how much more people in the meeting paid attention to me when they spoke and when I spoke.

Simple yet powerful. Thanks again, gentlemen!

Richboberg- Happy to help! Glad

Richboberg-

Happy to help! Glad you're getting value from our work.

We assure you - bad habits - and therefore examples - are rampant!

Mark

In our board room we have a single

In our board room we have a single table with 12 chairs. In order to square up to the speaker I would often be directly facing the person to my left or right. No only does this make hands up difficult but would seem pretty odd to the person next to me.

Suggestions?

StacyT- Great point. You don't have

StacyT-

Great point. You don't have to completely square up to those on the same side of the table as you. Simply turn your shoulders part of the way, and turn your head the rest of the way.

JUST THIS (based on my experience, I would guess) will be so different from so many other people's behavior that others will begin to feel that you are a better listener and therefore more likely better in many other areas.

Mark

Similar to richboberg's comment, these

Similar to richboberg's comment, these disciplines help *me* to stay focused during the meeting. If they also make me to appear more attentive, I almost consider that a bonus.

Tony

I 2nd what Tony said. I'm experiencing

I 2nd what Tony said. I'm experiencing the same benefits in all the meetings I've attended in the past week.