When you attend meetings, resist the temptation to skip breakout sessions or keynote speakers, even when work beckons. This meeting could be one of your biggest opportunities to network with fellow employees, re-evaluate your current job satisfaction, and find out which direction your company is heading in the next 12–18 months.
Use meetings as an opportunity to explore, examine and validate that you are in a job that keeps you challenged, motivated and excited to wake up and go to work each morning. Register for breakout sessions that either give you the opportunity to network with individuals with you don’t normally work on a regular basis, or attend sessions that give you the opportunity to learn something new about the company or yourself. Set goals for how many new relationships you want to establish, or how many tips for improving yourself personally and professionally you want to be able to take home. This will allow you to return to the office with a renewed since of purpose for your job and how it fits into the bigger picture at your organization.
I’ll use myself as an example. I recently was invited to a meeting that included various breakout sessions and many opportunities to network with fellow employees and suppliers. I knew it was time in my career to start looking for a new challenge, so I decided even before leaving for the airport that I was going to embrace this meeting as an opportunity to explore the potential to make a change and start wearing a path toward a new challenge. At this particular meeting, I made an extra effort to introduce myself to people to whom I wouldn’t normally have a chance to speak. I took several classes on work-life balance, and re-connected with some colleagues I had not seen in more than five years. The ultimate outcome of this particular meeting was helping me refocus on how I manage my time at work and at home. The result has been a better balance between the two, resulting in more quality time with my family. After that, I took a similar approach to another meeting that came along, and this time made professional connections that resulted in a new role at my organization.
I urge you to view the meetings you attend through a new lens of either personal or professional improvement. You many not see tangible results with every meeting, but be persistent and I guarentee you’ll begin to reap rewards, both professionally and personally.