Meetings are part of the day-to-day when working in advertising—to the point where sometimes it feels like you're spending more time in meetings than actually working. Helping to make meetings more productive is a great way to get noticed as an intern or jr. talent. Here are five tips to make you more efficient and effective in meetings, whether you're setting one up or participating in someone else's.
1) Ask yourself: does this need to be a meeting? If so, what kind?
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we're doing, we don't stop to think about whether an in-person meeting is actually needed. Can it be solved over email, on Slack, or by walking over to someone's desk? If you do require a meeting, what kind should it be? A 10 minute standing status? A working lunch? Think about what you're trying to achieve and then find the right format for your meeting.
2) Know the purpose of any meeting ahead of time.
In order for you to be mentally prepped for a meeting, you need to know the purpose of it. What the meeting is about, and what the ultimate goal coming out of it? If you're organizing the meeting, be sure to include these details in the meeting invite. If you receive an invite without a purpose, ask the organizer to clarify so that you can prep and be ready to roll.
3) Show up five minutes early.
There are always people who will rush into meetings late, having come from another meeting that ran long. But when you're early in your career, you don't want to be the one people are waiting for. Being the first one in the room is a small, but powerful way to show everyone that you're ready to work as an active part of the team. If you do get caught in another meeting, send the organizer a quick note to let them know you'll be coming in late. That way, s/he knows not to wait for you.
4) Keep your phone out of reach.
People looking at their phones during meetings is a pet peeve of mine. Sometimes it's unavoidable—like when you're waiting for an important client email—but as an intern or jr. talent, there's no reason for you to not be 100% engaged in the meeting. Sometimes we don't even realize we're scrolling and refreshing Instagram, and while it seems harmless, it signals that 1) you're disrespectful to whomever is leading the meeting, and 2) you're not an active participant. To avoid the temptation all together, put your phone out of reach during the meeting. Leave it at your desk, put it facedown in the middle of the table, or keep it tucked in your bag—whatever it takes.
5) Vocalize your thoughts—even the half-formed ones.
A lot of our fear of speaking up in meetings (one of the most common hurdles for interns and jr. talent) comes from the self-applied pressure of thinking everything we say has to be a brilliantly smart and fully formed thought. But a meeting—especially an internal one—is meant to be a time for the group to work through half-formed thoughts to get to a better answer or idea. Sharing your partial thoughts is part of the process, so don't be afraid to do so. (More tips on overcoming the fear of speaking up here.)
You got this,