How to stand out (in a good way) at your next company meeting
Learn how to come off as a star employee—and not a jerk—at your next staff meeting or all-hands.
Whether it’s with a small team of coworkers or the entire company, you can go one of two ways at a business meeting: fade into the woodwork or take the opportunity to shine. Sure, it’s easy to slip into “business as usual” mode and say nothing. After all, there are other, louder voices in the room, so what chance do you have at getting noticed?
A good one, as it turns out.
"Company meetings can be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your engagement, passion, and inquisitiveness," says Jeremy Payne, head of people operations at Remote Year, an online-work and travel community.
No more vanishing into your seat. Set yourself up for success with this guide to how you should act before, during, and after the meeting to make a great impression.
Before the meeting
Ask for an agenda
Most meetings come with an agenda, either attached as a document or in the email itself, so use that as a starting point to come up with smart questions to ask.
Not sure what a particular section of the meeting is about? No matter how basic they may seem, jot down your questions beforehand. They may be answered as the meeting progresses, but if they aren’t, they can serve as great follow-ups when the speaker asks if there are any questions.
Don’t know everyone in the room? Taking a few minutes to introduce yourself and make personal connections is a simple yet effective way to stand out before the meeting gets started.
“If it’s a larger meeting, give your name and position before you share your insights,” says Anza Goodbar, career coach at The Empowered Entrepreneur in Denver. “Raise your visibility with top management by stating who you are and what you bring to the table. Be humble yet confident in your delivery.”
During the meeting
Monitor your physical presence
We all slouch from time to time. In company meetings, however, it’s important to monitor your physical presence so you can appear—and more importantly—feel confident.
“Sit up straight (tailbone to back of seat helps you not slouch) and plant your feet on floor,” suggests Ann Brooke, director of professional development at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.
“Make eye contact with others—especially when you are speaking, but be aware of your demeanor while listening, too. Own your space, and use gestures while speaking if that comes naturally to you.”
And if you’re in a larger meeting, smile at the presenter, and maintain eye contact so he or she will remember your face if you approach or follow-up after the meeting.
Shiny distractions lurk around every corner, or more accurately, in your pocket.
“Do not scroll through your feeds while in a team meeting,” says Kevin Sides, chief marketing officer at, e-commerce fulfillment company, Ship Monk. “Even if it doesn't have anything to do with you or your department, you should give your other team member the respect they deserve. You may be able to provide an outside perspective that will turn the head of those in other departments.”
Pro tip: Turn your phone off, or leave it at your desk so you won’t even be tempted to check it.
A great way to demonstrate you’re listening? It’s pretty simple, according to Stan Kimer, president of Total Engagement Consulting: reiterate ideas shared in the discussion.
“Try to incorporate concepts and ideas shared previously to show that you listened and are a team player, but make sure to add your own ideas so you are not just repeating what has already been said.”
Record and confirm action items
Lots of great ideas are born in company meetings—some that will actually be acted upon, and some that will not. If it’s a smaller departmental meeting, before the meeting ends, identify your action items.
“If you are not assigned anything, consider voicing that you have the capacity and are happy to assist others in any tasks,” suggests Payne.
After the meeting
Follow up on action items
Sending a note with your confirmed action items and due dates to the meeting organizer (or project manager in some cases) will keep everyone in the know and feeling confident you’ll deliver your part on time.
“This will help others see you as a proactive employee who takes the lead on important issues instead of just sitting back and letting others take the initiative,” says Peter Yang, co-founder of ResumeGo, a resume writing service.
Thank the meeting organizer
If it’s appropriate, taking the time to thank the meeting organizer is a great way to stand out. You might mention in your note something you learned from the discussion.
“The follow up after the meeting is where you can significantly set yourself apart,” notes Jacquelyn Youst, president of Pennsylvania-based Jacquelyn Youst Etiquette Consulting. “The savvy professional knows to send a thank you note.”
Use your newfound confidence to keep moving your career forward
Being a wallflower won’t help your career in meetings—or other parts of your professional life. Join Monster now and you’ll get more career advice like this, plus job alerts for positions like yours—but better—where you might even be leading meetings, instead of learning how to stand out.