Remember those meetings where time seems to slow down, and nothing really makes sense after the second round of discussions? It seems like a Christopher Nolan movie where nothing makes sense and you’ve reached a level – 3 dream states where nothing really matters. However, you’re still very much there and you need to listen-in anytime you can. That’s another reason why you have to sorta pretend to be there, and at the same time just wait for your turn to speak.
Take advantage of silent pauses
This is key right here. You don’t want to be someone who blends in too much or someone who sticks out like a sore thumb. So, the meeting and con-call have been going on for 20 minutes now and everyone’s just waiting for the oldest member of the team to learn how to switch on their laptops.
The conversation goes on, and suddenly you reach a point where you’ve noticed a silent pause coming. This is usually between breaks in talking or when a point has been mentioned more than once. The group agrees unanimously and everyone’s happy. That’s the perfect time to strike and say something like – “I agree”, or “I think that makes sense”. It doesn’t matter what the actual thing was, you’re just agreeing with the group. This also makes you more likeable and approachable as a person – which is fantastic!
Write down a few Qs
Not only will you look smarter, you’re going to look busier when you walk around holding a stack of papers. From the moment you strut around to the meeting room to the exact instant you sit down on the table; a stack of papers makes you look important.
You need to organize them before the meeting starts and start writing a few questions related to the first 5-6 minutes of the meeting. Then you’re all set. When at the end of the meeting someone says – “Does anyone have any questions?” you can be the first one to ask a single Q. That’s it. You’ve essentially taken back 40-45 mins of your life back.
Asking a single question makes you look proactive and you can pretty much snooze your day away after that.
I think we’re in agreement on that”
Saying this line as slowly as you can really make it impactful. Go ahead. Try it out. I…..uh….think…that…we’re in agreement…..on….that. It makes you appear to be more insightful and intelligent and everyone likes someone decisive. No one’s going to disagree with you because they’ll just be attacking the person you’re agreeing with.
This is the perfect politician’s tactic to delay anything that needs to be done – be as slow and deliberate as you can. The faster you speak, the more effort you need to put and the less impact you make per word.
That’s a valid point”
Every time there’s an open discussion in the meeting room, you can easily shake things off by saying – “That’s a valid point”. This is when you have literally nothing left to say but want to wrap things up as soon as possible. Everyone’s looking for a way out of the meeting and it’s best to just say – “That’s a valid point” and then reconvene when someone else makes a valid point.
This also occurs when someone is able to share a valid point and you really want to appreciate that. You can simply state – “That’s valid” or its cousin – “Yeah that’s true in that way”. These are empty blanket statements that can apply to any situation that you might encounter. It’s also a great vessel in which you can add more word phrases like – “That’s a valid point; I think we can work on that and revert”. This usually adds an action item to the list which you can focus on and walk away from the meeting.
I think it’s what our client would want”
No matter what the meeting (HR, operations, etc.) you can easily get away with this line if you’ve used up all others. This is because everyone wants to please the client/customer and if you appear to be someone who’s looking at that part closely – then that’s a good thing to say in a meeting.
“I think our client would appreciate that”, or “Yeah that’s what a client mentioned to me as well”, is a good combination of phrases that can string together to form a cohesive sentence. You can also combine that in agreement with someone and say – “Yeah that’s what the client would like” to propose a more enlightening conversation later on.