Next time you’re in a major meeting, look around the room. Particularly as the meeting wears on, most people become disconnected. While people are making presentations, everyone eventually starts responding to email on their computer, looking at their phone, or checking out in other ways.
When that happens do this: focus on the person making the presentation. Actively listen. Nod your head in agreement. Respond.
I was in a meeting a few years ago that was the first gathering of key people for a major initiative. No one knew each other and the purpose of the meeting was to decide who would take different roles and responsibilities for the project. I was representing our team at Cooke Media Group and wanted to make a positive impression.
So while everyone else was mentally checking out, I intentionally focused. I smiled, nodded in agreement, and took notes. To my surprise I discovered that the speakers really noticed and started directing their comments at me because I was engaged. I visually connected with each speaker and at the end of the meeting, everyone agreed that I should lead the initiative.
I’d like to think my experience and expertise went into the decision, but to be honest, when I look back, I’m pretty convinced that it was because I was in the moment and focused on each speaker.
In your next big meeting try it out.
You may end up being president of the company.