Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on your sweater already, well maybe not, because this isn’t 8 mile, this is a meeting you’re woefully under-prepared for.
Terrible meetings are an inevitability and will happen to everyone – sooner or later. The meeting from hell is looming.
Maybe you had a late night last night and forgot to do the preliminary reading? Why you’re under-prepared doesn’t matter, what you’re going to do about it does. Here’s five ways to survive a tough meeting.
1. ‘Fess up
Walk in with your hands up and come clean. You’ve made your bed so lie in it. Rather than wait for your turn to speak and everyone realising you’ve done close to zero preparation, make your peace with the rest of the team and hang your head for a while. Remorse goes a long way.
2. Try and wriggle out early
“I need the toilet”. “My dog is trapped in a well”. We’re not saying you have to have a good excuse, but something that warrants a quick exit. It’s the coward’s way out but much better than the hell-storm of disciplinary meetings you’d be facing if you confessed.
3. Flip the script
Keep the topic off of you. Stay cool and chatty and avoid speaking about whatever you forgot. If you play your cards right you can put the meeting off enough for you to quickly catch up on your work before anyone even realised you hadn’t done it.
4. Your notebook is your ally
Neglecting responsibilities? Couldn’t have been you, you’ve been busy jotting notes all day like the proactive employee you are. Keep your eyes down and make sure no one sneaks a peek at your doodle page littered in graffiti ‘S’s.
5. Bring snacks
Your boss can’t be mad at someone who brought flapjacks for everyone, right? Generosity might save your skin more than cowardice. The way to your co-worker’s hearts is through their stomachs, it’s important to remember that.