Avoid these meeting pitfalls

15 July, 2019

Want to make a quick, positive impact? Go to a meeting.

It’s an easy platform to give value and one of the most effective ways to boost your personal brand. Meetings give you the opportunity to engage in a way that’s focused and relevant. If you do it well it develops trust, makes a good impression and enhances your reputation.

But if you get it wrong you run the risk of being annoying and worse, unremarkable. Here are 12 of the most common meeting mistakes to avoid if you want to build a convincing and credible personal brand:

  1. No real purpose

If you can’t pinpoint exactly why you’re calling the meeting, i.e. to make a decision, to hear out a disagreement, or to set a course of action, and are able to keep everyone focused on the end result, then you shouldn’t call that meeting at all.

  1. No real focus

Nobody wants to get one of the most damaging of all personal branding actions – the eye-roll. Stay focused on the topic and the agenda, keep the objectives of the meeting in mind and contribute purposefully and meaningfully.

  1. Unclear thinking

Get your point across in one sentence. If it’s difficult you need to focus your thinking. If you ramble your listeners will get bored or at best confused and their attention will wander.

  1. Irritating non-words

You probably don’t know you’re doing it, but words such as: um, like, so, hey, hmm, er, you know what I mean – are annoying and gives people the opportunity to tune out. Learn to stop saying them.

  1. Bad meeting style

Do you arrive unprepared? Do you constantly interrupt? Do you bad-mouth your colleagues? Do you fiddle with your phone? These bad habits highlight your self-interest and label you as arrogant and a poor team player.

  1. Pursuing a personal agenda

Chances are the meeting is not about you, so work towards the benefit of everybody. If you give off so much as a sniff that there are personal priorities at play, you’ll annoy your peers and quickly be excluded from the process – physically or socially.

  1. Constantly playing devil’s advocate

Is your negative contribution absolutely necessary? Is your constant need to undermine your colleagues’ opinions getting in the way the outcome? If you have something relevant to add, speak up. If not, shut up.

  1. Using the f-word

Don’t even think about using this, no matter how well you know the people or how much part of the company culture it is. Not only do you come across as inarticulate but it’s immature and offensive. Why make it hard for people to take you seriously?

  1. Sitting quietly

Although it’s a good idea to listen more than to talk, it’s not a good idea to say nothing at all. Silence does not get you noticed. If you have nothing of value to contribute then intelligent questions will make sure you’re not overlooked.

  1. Making private public

Don’t be tempted to make the meeting leader look foolish by sharing inappropriate anecdotes or being confrontational. If you have contradictory information or opinions to share, do it while keeping you and your colleagues’ reputations intact.

  1. Showing skin

The more flesh you show, the more credibility you lose and the harder you have to work to be taken seriously. Men, that goes for you too.

  1. Not saying please and thank you

It may sound like kindergarten, but arriving on time, being polite and keeping your promises go a long way towards creating trust. Don’t let people down. Your reputation is the essence of your personal brand, so get it right.

Avoiding these 12 mistakes will not only help build your reputation, but will boost your confidence and help get the most out of yourself and others.

Do you have any meeting tips you’d like to share to help improve your personal brand?

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.