All of us have been in meetings that we don’t even know why we are there. In these types of meetings, we generally try not to fall asleep while daydreaming and make eye contact with the speaker every few minutes to be seen as paying attention to the meeting. If you feel that you don’t belong to that meeting or it is really about a boring topic that doesn’t interest you but you still want to be productive during that time, below are the things which you can do while you are sitting there pretending that you are listening to the conversation.
- Get Prepared for Your Next Meeting: Even if laptops are not allowed in the meeting, you can still use your pen and paper and jot down ideas about another meeting which is more important to you. You can prepare a meeting agenda, go through the topics that you definitely need to cover or brainstorm ideas about how to run an effective meeting so you can achieve your meeting goals.
- Make a To-Do List or Rearrange Your To-Do List: If you are in a morning meeting, you can make yourself a to-do list which you intend to finish at the end of the day. If you are in an afternoon meeting and already made your to-do list for the day, you can go through your list in your mind and rearrange it if necessary. You can also check if you prioritized your tasks accordingly and if you can, in fact, finish your list at the end of the day.
- Get Some Actual Work Done: If laptops are allowed in the meeting, you can work on your real work while pretending that you are taking notes. Make sure to occasionally look at the speaker and nod. Also, try to sit in a location where others cannot see your computer screen or use a privacy screen filter so others cannot see your monitor.
- Try to Get Involved in the Meeting: If none of the above works, try to be active in the meeting that you are actually sitting in! Notice the important issues and open up discussions about them. Talk about key points or brainstorm ideas for solutions. Ask a question or make a point that will let others see the problems from a different angle. Shortly, let others feel your presence and show them that you are adding value.