How much of your work time every week is spent in meetings? Depending on your role in your organization, the answer is likely between 35 and 50 percent.
Undoubtedly, many of these meetings are about subjects that are outside your direct area of expertise. While you may be tempted to sit there physically but check out mentally, staying quiet isn’t the answer.
You have to see every single meeting as an opportunity to demonstrate the power of your thinking and enhance your leadership presence. Here’s how you can show leadership in any meeting, regardless of the content:
1. Look for connections
One of the ways you can show leadership is by looking for connections that other people aren’t seeing. Break down boundaries by suggesting how one area of discussion affects another.
For example, if the meeting was discussing how to increase sales by analyzing each part of the sales cycle independently, you could show leadership by suggesting potential linkages between seemingly separate parts. You don’t need to be an expert in sales to suggest this: In fact, an outside perspective might be just what the sales team needs to avoid the perils of groupthink.
2. Elevate the thinking
Another way you can show leadership is by elevating the thinking to the “big picture” level. Sometimes a meeting needs somebody to remind the room about the long view or the end goal. If you start to see the meeting head down a rabbit hole of detail, you can be the one to remind people of what’s really important. Synthesize the details, and then shift the focus back to the big picture.
3. Color outside the lines
Another way you can show leadership is by thinking outside of the box. If the meeting seems to be stuck in a rut, suggest moving in a completely different — and perhaps unexpected — direction. Even if you don’t have a brilliant idea, you can help inspire others to bring forward ideas that may not have had the chance to come to the forefront unless you suggested changing direction. Sometimes, a little jolt of unconventional thinking is just what’s needed to salvage a meeting.
You might think having so many meetings is a waste of time, but why not make the most of them? By using these strategies, you can gain more visibility in your organization by demonstrating the power of your thinking, even when you’re outside your area of expertise.