Meetings are forums and events where perceptions are built and broken. Every meeting is different – even regularly occurring and frequent ones.
Sometimes they are predictable and standard operating procedures, sometimes they are promising yet tense.
Considering how much time we spend in meetings, each meeting is an opportunity to make or break our personal brand. How we show up, the role we play, where we sit, and what we contribute, can dramatically strengthen or hurt our reputation.
Key Roles in Meetings
There are five key roles that we can play in meetings and we generally fall into one of these categories regardless of meeting type.
- Challenger of the status quo
- Supporter of others’ viewpoints
- Defensive on behalf of others
- Constructive brainstormer or problem solver
- Summarizer of thoughts
Look at your value proposition, and ask yourself these questions:
- Which one of these roles do I currently play? And how is it working for me?
- What role might I be better suited to play, and how does that contribute to my brand?
- What do I need to do differently to play that role?
- And what do I need to do more consistently?
Some additional ideas to consider when delivering upon your personal brand in meetings include:
- Where you sit around the table – sitting at the center sends a message of collaboration while the head of the table commands control.
- How you engage when you first enter – do you sit down and look at your smartphone or do you introduce yourself and speak to other participants.
- When you speak up – are you speaking up, advocating and expressing professional opinions about the topics that are most important to you and your brand? Do you speak up and fight for everything? Or do you remain a silent observer?
Get a quick reality check from someone you trust. In answering these questions, don’t rely solely on your own perceptions, opinions and ideas. Some of our most valuable information comes from others’ perspectives.