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Here's how to make the most out of your meetings.

Whether you’re heading the meeting or you’re just a participant, many people do not enjoy corporate meetings. When executed properly, meetings are great for getting information across to others, exchanging new ideas, and discussing various topics in a constructive way. Here are a few top tips to help you get the most out of corporate meetings.

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Know the Agenda

Before the start of any meeting, you need to be clear about what the agenda is. Those heading a meeting must give clarity about the purpose of the gathering, the action items that should be discussed, and the potential desired outcome. When a group of people gets together, it is easy to get waylaid by some topics and bogged down with others. Not to mention, by creating an agenda, you will reduce the risk of your meeting being hijacked by opinionated participants or participants with seniority. It also helps prepare quieter employees and gives them a chance to pitch in. If you are attending a meeting rather than holding it, always get a hold of a copy of the agenda to help you prepare.

Take Notes Before the Meeting Even Begins

In addition to getting to know the agenda, you can also ensure you get the most out of a meeting by taking notes beforehand. Make a note of the team members involved in the meeting and jot down any questions you may already have.

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Learn to Take Notes More Efficiently

One of the best ways to ensure you make the most of the information gained from a meeting is by learning to take meeting notes more efficiently. It doesn’t matter if you’re a participant or a host, if it’s a mind mapping session with peers or an important interview with your superior; effective note-taking can help you remember more about the meeting and will ultimately elevate your job performance. Although taking notes might seem unnecessary to some, it is a useful skill that can enhance organization, improve active listening, and encourage innovation. During a meeting, it is a good idea to divide your notes into issues, decisions, action items, and questions.

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Rather than trying to capture every single word, keep your sentences short and try to note down keywords. After the meeting is over, you can organize your notes, transfer them to your platform of choice, and turn your action items into practical tasks.

Get Involved

Some people find it difficult to speak up during meetings, especially if they are naturally introverted and prefer to listen rather than speak. However, as a participant in a meeting, it is important that you find your voice and share your opinion with the group at the right time. By keeping your thoughts to yourself during a meeting, you risk being overlooked by louder team members. In turn, your team and your superiors may value your contributions less. The best way to get involved is by speaking up early on in the meeting. A small contribution, such as a minor question or comment, will help ease you into the meeting. In turn, you will find it easier to make a more substantial contribution later on.