5 Ways to look smarter in your meetings

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Evoking the feeling “this person knows their stuff” can be somewhat difficult in board meetings. We got wind of Sarah Cooper’s list of “ten tricks to look smarter in meetings” and thought we’d put our own spin on it. Here are 5 tricks to make you look smarter in board meetings

1. Go to The Whiteboard

Going to the whiteboard is a sign of confidence and leadership in the room. Once you’re up there using a simple diagram allows everyone to visualize the objective.

One diagram you can use in any whiteboard situation is the “A to B list”. Place an arrow between an “A” and a “B” and get everybody in the meeting to fill out below. Use the letters to mark “ where they currently are” (A) and “where they want to be” (B).

SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and ven-diagrams are also great ways to maintain engagement in a meeting.

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2. Be Mindful of Body Language

Words are not the only form of communication. Body Language is key! Using hand gestures, posture and head nods can make a world of difference.

Hand gestures are great for visually compartmentalizing points to make them clear and concise.You may dismiss your posture in a board meeting, but sitting slouched makes you appear disengaged.

Mirroring another person’s body language can bring a subconscious empathy that assists in communicating effectively. Be mindful, as there’s a difference between mimicking and subtly mirroring.  A head nod is a subtle but effective way to show your understanding and gain the acknowledgment of your audience in the boardroom.

3. Dress for the occasion.

In the world of dressed-down silicon valley CEO’s, many undervalue the effect color, fit and trends can have. A style is a form of communication, so be mindful of what you’re communicating when you style yourself.

Color has a psychological effect on us. With style being a form of communication color is a vehicle for delivering said message. Red brings attention while blue is more a calming color. Blue is also one of the most versatile colors to have in your wardrobe.

Fit communicates your attention to detail. Most people don’t pay attention to this detail. It’s important to be comfortable and confident to make your attire work for you.

If the occasion calls for a formal outfit, put your best foot forward and invest in a good tailor.

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4. Show Empathy

In the boardroom exemplifying understanding while effectively communicating is a great way to show understanding while making your excellent point.

Start with an “I hear you”, or “I understand your point”, before making your statement. Another great empathy practice is to summarize a co-workers statement in your own words to show your understanding.

Once the meeting is about to wrap up, summarize all of the main points that were made by everyone and use it as segway to drive your great point home.

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5. Use Analogies in Your Dialogue

Speaking in phrases is a great method of flying over everyone’s head then swooping back down to effortlessly articulate a point while not directly answering a question.

I.e. The unrelated phrase “Focus on the steak, not the sizzle”. The “swoop”; gaining buzz from the press is visually fantastic, but resolving a product malfunction will allow us to grow our customer base.

Psychologically, it uses imagery that’s more relatable than speaking directly to the point. Using analogies makes you appear smarter while creating a lasting impression on your audience.

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Analogies that can be applied to any subject matter at your next meeting:

You’re ignoring the quiet voice inside your business.
Flesh wounds can still kill if not attended to
Don’t put the horse before the carriage.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.