10 “Potentially” Brilliant Ways to Look Smart in a Meeting

by Alexa Drago on April 1, 2016

By Guest Blogger: Judith Keene

Work_Man_Sitting.svgWe have all attended meetings where we aren’t sure what the client or partner really wants. You have choices. You could begin sweating through two layers of clothing with a blank, fear-struck look on your face.  If you don’t think fear works for you, take control of your emotions. You can confidently get through the meeting by implementing one or more of the following:

  • Dress the part. Unless you wear a formal or sequins, no one will ever say you are too well-dressed. Don’t forget the shoes. Shoes that aren’t shined or are worn will make you look unprepared and sloppy.
  • Don’t forget your laptop. The Internet is the modern version of an all-powerful Oracle, which will provide you with instantaneous facts to hurl about the room. You’ll look as if you are fully engaged, and you’ll be able to interject background facts as if you actually understood the subject matter of the meeting. Make sure you turn on your phone hotspot. There is nothing worse than being in a meeting with a weak Internet signal! For those of you who are not “touch-typers,” ignore this advice.
  • Ask how information can be aggregated and monetized. Nobody really understands these terms, but you will look like you know what you are talking about.
  • Use body language. Strike an open posture. Lean back in your chair and look knowingly over the head of whoever is speaking. No slouching and don’t hold your head up with your elbow on the table!
  • Occasionally, lean forward and nod knowingly as your client or partner expresses her frustration with some issue.
  • Take notes, or appear as if you are taking notes. (This may be where you are searching the Internet for pearls of wisdom.)
  • If you are meeting around a conference room table, don’t be afraid to sit at the head of the table. This is never true if you are meeting with a partner, but it is always true if you are meeting with a client. If your chosen seat is unavailable because of the number of people in the meeting, don’t sit by a wall or in a corner. Sit as close to the decision-makers as possible.
  • If there is a visual portion to the presentation, ask a question about one of the slides or images. You went to law school. You can certainly come up with an intelligent question.
  • Ask questions that could fit in any situation:
    1. How do we maintain sustainability?
    2. How would you like to prioritize action items after this meeting?
    3. What difficult choices are you facing?
  • Draw a diagram and suggest that everyone add information to summarize the meeting.   Maybe a pie chart. Maybe a Venn diagram. Enough said.  

 Happy April Fools Day!!!!

Judith Keene (formerly Rosenblum) is Senior Counsel with HolzerIPLaw, PC. Her practice emphasizes trademarks, copyrights, licensing, new business start-ups, government contracts and intellectual property due diligence. She can be reached at jkeene@holzeriplaw.com.


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