No matter where you work, it’s likely two things are true: (1) there are meetings, and (2) these meetings have a tendency to drag. On and on. To the point you have to poke yourself with a paperclip to stay awake and keep from getting in trouble.
Fortunately, PayScale writer Peter Swanson has written a post (via Money) titled “4 Ways to Fake It at Your Meeting,” and it’s filled with helpful advice that just might save you from jabbing yourself with little metal objects.
Swanson’s first tip for feigning interest in a meeting: “adjust your body language.” If you want the boss to think you’re hanging on his or her every word, it helps to make eye contact and nod along whenever a key point comes up. Prone to slouching? Just focus on straightening your back and pushing your shoulder blades together.
Next up, Swanson goes old school and suggests you “bring a notepad.” These days, people tend to take notes on smartphones, and while this is a great option if you want to look at Twitter and check email while you’re supposed to be following along with that PowerPoint presentation, it sends the message to your manager that you might not be giving him or her your full attention. By showing up with a pen and a legal pad and taking some good old-fashioned notes, you’ll give the impression that you’re fully engaged in what’s going on.
And while you’re at it, “ask a few questions,” Swanson says. These don’t need to be incredibly thoughtful questions, and even if you’re only kind of paying attention, you should be able to come up with something. The secret, Swanson says, is to latch on to the last point your boss made and summarize it as a “question of clarity.”
Finally, Swanson gets a little playful and suggests you “tag team” the meeting with a simpatico coworker. The two of you might create a little game to see who can do a better job of engaging the boss, or if you’re really feeling adventurous, you can challenge each other to insert certain left-field words into the discussion. It sounds crazy, but if you spend the meeting racking your brain for ways to fit some zany phrase into your next question of clarity, you just might stop yourself from nodding out.