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Created and Maintained by
A.B. Credaro
Page Created
March 18, 2003



Always be taller than the other people at meetings. Height always carries authority, even if you don’t have any idea what you are talking about. Notice how ‘elder statesmen’ are always over six feet tall? Some short but successful people have gotten around this (eg Mussolini and Napoleon) by having large armies at their disposal. Unfortunately having a large girth will not carry any weight – at least, not in a meeting.

Know where you fit into your organizational chart. Be prepared to butt in if someone lower-down than you starts to say anything, but do it politely. Always commence with an apology, such as “Do you mind if I just quickly comment on that?” Then you can launch into a prolonged diatribe with impunity. However, if someone higher up in the chart than you starts to talk, look intense and nod wisely. You will quickly establish a reputation for being a ‘team player’- even if no-one is quite sure what the game is.

Don’t go piggy with the refreshments. Make sure you get to the meeting early and then eat half of the biscuits or pastries before anyone else arrives. When the others appear, politely decline the offer of food, but accept tea/coffee/water. This will indicate that you are social, if somewhat reserved. Try not to burp anything smelling biscuity into anyone’s face, as this will completely spoil the good work you have done so far.

A quick trip to the bathroom between scoffing the refreshments and the others arriving is needed to wash all traces of food from face and/or teeth. If you do not have a toothbrush with you, rinse thoroughly in the basin, making sure to wash thoroughly clean the basin after you have finished. Otherwise, anyone else using the bathroom after you will know who ate the cookies with the nuts in them.

Never leave during the meeting, regardless of what happens. If you do, everyone will talk about you. For the same reason, make sure you are the last person to leave at the end of the meeting. But let’s be real about this – you know they are all going to get together afterwards without you … but somehow this won’t be as bad as them discussing you behind your back when you are only temporarily absent. Don’t ask why – it’s just one of the Laws of the Universe.

Always take a briefcase or large folder, full of paper. Just grab something handy out of a filing cabinet, as the actual contents are immaterial. This will give the impression that you have prepared extensively for the meeting.

It is absolutely critical that you take writing paper and a working pen. Make copious notes – with plenty of underlines. Bullet point things. Flick occasionally back to your files (see 5 above), and make some more notes. Just hope like crazy that none of the other meetees can see what you are writing. If you find that you are all pretty tightly packed around a table where others can see your notes, you may have to resort to writing things that relate to the actual meeting. Sorry – there is no way around this.

Breaking wind at a meeting is rarely viewed as endearing, unless the meeting is held in a bowling alley. In this case, it is pretty much expected behavior.

Always power dress for important meetings (again, not applicable to bowling). For men this means matching socks at the very minimum. Women should ensure that all visible parts have had hair removed – few things will affect your credibility as much as those rogue hairs appearing mid-calf through your pantyhose. Although it is unlikely that anyone else would notice, your continual attempts to cover it up will, in fact, draw attention to it.

Cell phones should be switched off before the meeting starts. You should make sure you do this in front of everyone; otherwise they won’t know that you have one. The whole point of cell phones is not for communication, but to show you are a very important person. Let’s face it, you really don’t want your mother phoning you during the meeting to get you to pick up groceries on the way home…and who else ever phones you anyway?

To correctly cite this page:
Credaro,A.B.(2003). How to be Successful at Meetings.. Warrior Librarian Weekly [online] [Accessed:insert date]