What to look for in staff during meetings?

Your mind might be on your presentation – but it’s also worth keeping an eye on staff during a meeting as it can offer insights into their day-to-day working practices and attitude

No one likes it when the boss stands over their shoulder and watches them work.

But without monitoring it can be hard for employers to get an idea of how their staff work, what their techniques are and if they’re making any simple and correctable mistakes.

Business People in a Meeting Being Observed

Your regular meetings offer an insight into people’s working styles, so it’s worth paying attention to your employees during these get togethers.

1. The note takers

Most eyes during a meeting will be on you or the screen. And while this is good, pay attention to the ones who have their face down in their note pad. Taking notes shows an active involvement in the meeting and the desire to take something useful away.

In office life, these people will have a flair for planning, a good broad knowledge of various aspects of  work and are likely to be keen on additional training.

• After the meeting: Once the meeting is done, have a quick word with them. They’re probably planning on typing up their notes anyway, so ask them to share the information with the rest of the team.

2. The question master

The balance between healthy inquisitiveness and disruptive interruptions is a fine one. So don’t just note who is asking questions, but also what type of questions. Do the questions show an insight and understanding of the work? Or a lack of knowledge about the subject?

Speaking up when you’re not sure about something is a positive trait, as it shows a lack of ego and willingness to learn. Those asking lots of specific, technical questions could be displaying the opposite – it could be a way of showing off or trying to dominate the meeting.

• After the meeting: If you feel their questions have gone unanswered, chase them up after for a more in depth chat; whether it’s filling them in on the basics or going into more details on a specific point.

3. The natural leader

You’ll probably already know who these people are as natural leaders tend to shine no matter what the situation. But sometimes, a leader isn’t the person who speaks loudest, but the one other workers admire, respect and listen to.

In the meeting, if you’ve asked a question about how the group feels, note who people look towards.

They will also be the first person to speak up in awkward situations such as when no one knows the answer to a question.

• After the meeting: Organise a 1-to-1 meeting with them to discuss their ideas, the mood of the office and where they see themselves in a few years. Keeping these leaders on board is important, so they’ll need to feel engaged in the day-to-day running of the company.

Large Business Meeting Being led by man Leaning on Table

4. The drifter

We all have bad days when our baby has kept us up all night, or our mind is on another job. But there are some staff who, no matter what, will let their attention drift.

When presenting information, face the screen for a longer period than usual then quickly turn to face the meeting. You should be able to spot people gazing out the window or those with blank looks on their faces.

Just because they drift in meetings, doesn’t mean they aren’t good workers, but you will need to keep the pressure on them or change up their work load so they don’t lose focus.

• After the meeting: Make them aware you’ve noticed their attention is drifting. If they realise other people are noticing they might be able to adjust their attitude.


Posted by Julie Tucker


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