Meetings are high pressure for everyone. My first meeting ended in my boss excusing himself after I decided to make an icebreaker ‘dad joke’ and gesticulated so widely that I knocked over an entire pot of coffee onto a co-workers briefcase.
Back then I didn’t understand the power of soft skills to help make a good first impression – especially in important meetings.
We all know that when meetings do go well, they can be a great chance to share your big ideas with your boss and peers.
You want to be taken seriously at important meetings and avoid spoiling the chance to have your voice heard. Since that first meeting, I’ve had thousands of opportunities to get better at putting my soft skills to work making that good first impression.
Here are 8 critical soft skill tips I’ve picked up along the way:
Body language is everything in a room full of people. Standing tall and keeping your posture in check will let people know you are present and fully engaged in the meeting.
Dress to impress
This one is a no brainer in the workplace, especially on meeting days. As the sayings go: dress for the job you want to have; it’s the same for meetings. Dress for the meeting you want to get noticed in! Keeping your appearance clean and polished will let the people around you know that you mean business.
Smile like you mean it
No need to go overboard with this one, but the sentiment is clear. Be positive and be friendly. Your colleagues will thank you for it.
Make yourself known
Introduce yourself to everyone in the room if you get a moment. When the meeting is over, give them a firm handshake and say something positive about a point they raised in the conversation. This will let people know that you were paying attention. Even better if your boss is still in the room to notice.
Learn everyone’s names
How many times has ‘that guy’ called you Suzanne around the office - when you’ve met him several times and introduced yourself as Sue? Make sure you never become ‘the one who gets everyone’s names wrong’. Introduce yourself to everyone and listen carefully to learn their names. One trick is to say their name back to them.
When someone is explaining something to you, you want to make sure you are taking in everything they are saying. Offer a considered response when it your time to talk. Focus on them and try to maintain eye contact. Listening is crucial for forming strong workplace relationships and bonds.
This is the follow on from listening carefully. Make sure you avoid talking over people at all costs and pay attention. Make sure they have finished making their point before you interject to make yours.
Use small talk to make things interesting
Despite its bad reputation, small talk and elevator chats are a great way to make connections with colleagues and find out about what makes them tick. Listen to their input in the meeting and make conversation based on that afterwards.
Need some new skills for making a spectacular first impression? Book a FREE personal one-on-one soft skills assessment session, and find out how soft skills could benefit you or your workplace