How Structured Meetings can help you to Get Promoted

Portrait of Derek Homann
Derek Homann

Meetings are a necessary evil for just about every organization and just about every employee takes part in at least a few meetings per week. If you are one of those ambitious employees who are hoping to move up in the organization, being good at meetings is one of the secret weapons to help you stand out above everyone else. Let me walk you through how it works.

First and foremost, to get promoted, you need to be good at your job. If you are an engineer, you need to produce quality code in a reasonably timely fashion. If you are a marketer, the campaigns you work on should be more successful than not. If you don’t perform, then it’s a bit far fetched to think you can get promoted. With that said, if you are performing well, then being an all-star in meetings can help push it over the edge. Here’s how you do it:

Contribute

If you sit in the back of your meeting and never say anything, you probably aren’t going to be on the top of your manager’s mind when it comes time to hand out promotions. By actively contributing to meetings, you’ll put yourself more top of mind for your manager when it comes to who they should promote.

If you are like a lot of employees, you might not be the best at coming up with ideas on the fly, so the best way for you to contribute is to take a look at the agenda ahead of time (or ask the organizer for one if one hasn’t been created), so you can start thinking about thoughts or ideas that you can bring to the meeting.

Document

Meetings often are not documented and lots of discussions, ideas, and action items get completely lost. If you are able to, volunteer to take notes and document the meeting. If you are the one taking notes, you can help steer the conversation. It takes a little practice, but if several people are discussing the budget for a new ad campaign, you can chime in and say something like “It sounds like we are thinking about a $5,000 a month budget for the new campaign. Does that sound appropriate to everyone?”. By using your position as note-taker to ask clarifying questions, you can also show the team that you are good at steering people towards specific answers which helps move projects forward.

Start Having Focused Meetings

Be Accountable

In your meetings, you’ll often be tasked with items that you’ll need to follow up on. The best way to stand out here is to do what you say you are going to do (or what is assigned to you) and make sure it’s clear that you did it.

At the end of a meeting, take 10 seconds to say out loud “OK, before our next meeting, I will make sure to get budget approval from finance and I will have the design team create 3 ad variants that I can show at the next meeting.” By clarifying and announcing your goals in a succinct manner, everyone in the meeting will know what is assigned to you. Then at the beginning of your next meeting, you can jump in and immediately show that those items were checked off the list.

While doing what you say you are going to do may sound simple, meetings can have so much information discussed, that often times distilling down your specific objectives and making them clear to everyone can really help set you apart.

Discuss your contributions in meetings with your manager

If you do the 3 items above, you are setting yourself up for an easier conversation with your manager. When you are having discussions about career progression, it’s important to help bring up concrete examples of how you are helping the team beyond just the code you are writing or the ad campaigns you created. You want to show that you are a good team player as well. If you can point to how you have specifically been working on being a better communicator during meetings, it will help shape your manager’s perception of how valuable you are to the team. An individual contributor who is also a great team player has a significantly higher likelihood of being promoted. It will take some time, but being a consistently positive force in meetings will do nothing but help you when it comes to promotion time.