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Asked by Susan on June 22, 2016

I'm only 6 months into my first job after graduating and feel like there are times people look at me like I'm still in college. I have had the opportunity to be part of a lot of meetings, and I've even fun a few meetings for projects I'm managing. However, I feel like people always look at me like I have two heads in the meeting. Could it be that I'm not running them efficiently? Could it just be my confidence and I'm imagining this? What advice would you give when it comes to being part of meetings in a professional environment? And, any suggestions on how to effectively manage those meetings?

Answered by Courtney, Hiring Expert at ADP, on June 23, 2016

This is a great question!  I remember feeling unsure of my self in meetings at first.  I'm sure you are doing a great job!  There are 2 things I would recommend to give you some more confidence.  (1) Establish an open dialogue with your manager around prepping for and executing these meetings.  She/he can advise on how to best engage the audience and provide some good feedback once that dialogue gets started.  (2) Find yourself a mentor that is not directly your boss, but involved in some of the projects that can provide you some feedback as well.  These 2 tips will help you not only now, but all throughout your career.  Good luck!

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on June 23, 2016

First of all, way to go! 6 months into your first job and you are running meetings and running projects, that is some excellent experience and exposure for your career.

Running successful meetings and projects is all about organization, partnering, consistency and goal setting.  I have found a lot of success (especially when working with a new team who is unfamiliar with me) in being very transparent with what my specific goals are (both for individual meetings and the project as a whole), setting clear expectations for stakeholders and then driving towards the common goals.  People like to know what they can expect and then having a voice when it directly impacts them. 

Take a deep breath and enter every situation with the knowledge that you've got this!  Being confident goes a long way in managing the situation.  If you need a boost to your confidence, consider some breakout sessions where you can get to know the members of the team better.  Once you all perceive each other as allies with common goals you'll work together to find team success. 

Good luck! 

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Answered by Lori, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on June 23, 2016

First off, congrats on your graduation, and your first job! Attending and running meetings, depending on who is in them and what the subject matter is, can create various emotions. Although you are new to the workforce, think of the meetings that you are a part of. What do you like about them? Dislike? Use that information when you are running your own. The best meetings are those that are well thought out ahead of time and are organized. Have an agenda and stick to it. Ensure that you invite the right people to attend. This means that anyone that would have a vested interest in the work/project that is being discussed. Typically the biggest pet peeve about a meeting is when people feel like it is wasting their time. Time is a precious commodity and people want to feel like they are investing it in something that will bring them value. When you are part of a meeting, you should know what is on the agenda and be able to contribute information that relates to the topics you are familiar with. Speak concisely and make eye contact with your colleagues. Especially when you are new to a role and/or company, it is helpful to take note of the culture of the organization which is typically evident in meetings. Cigna has put together some humorous, short meeting videos on our youtube channel. Feel free to look them over to get a better sense of what generally works or might be frowned upon that can be related to your company. https://www.youtube.com/user/cigna/videos?shelf_id=7&sort=dd&view=0
Finally, never hesitate in asking for feedback from your manager and other colleagues who you might look up to. They can share with you if there are things you are doing or saying in the meeting, that you might not even be aware of, that is making people feel uncomfortable. Take the feedback as a learning experience and grow from it. Good luck!

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