3 tips to get the most out of a meeting.
1/ Be prepared
Every meeting should have an agenda with an outline of what will be discussed. If not, take the initiative to make one or bring it up during the next meeting. The agenda provides a solid foundation for the meeting to make it as efficient as possible. Stick to the topics that are proposed. Meetings can get sidetracked easily. Prepare yourself and do the required research, think about the input you can give and write down the questions you have.
Extra tip: If you found out during your research that you want to discuss other topics or you have a lot of questions, send an email to the other attendees, ask for a skype call or schedule another (pre-)meeting.
Don´t just sit there and listen to what other people have to say. The fact that you are in the meeting means it discusses relevant topics for you and/or your opinion is necessary. Listen, make eye contact, go in interaction, ask questions, share your thoughts, give your opinion, etc. The other people in the meeting will appreciate your participation and you will get the most out the meeting for yourself as well.
Extra tip: don´t bring your phone to the meeting to avoid distraction. Also, when it is not necessary, let your laptop at your desk and bring a pen and paper to the meeting. When it is online, close all the tabs and also make your own image invisible. It only adds to the distraction.
3/ Take smart notes
You don´t need to write everything down unless they ask you or it´s your job. You need to make smart notes to be sure you have an accurate list of what´s discussed and you can reread, understand and use afterwards when you need it.
Use symbols and bullet points to write faster. For example, when you don´t understand something and you need to do research, use a question mark. If something is very important you cannot forget, use an exclamation mark. When certain topics are connected, connect them with arrows. Organize topics in chronological order by using numbers, even when they are not said in chronological order during the meeting.
Extra tip: Reread the same day your notes and complete where necessary.