Meetings As A Developer

By: Ryan Kienstra on: January 10, 2018  in: Communication

Online conference concept
Here are some points that have helped me in meetings, working at XWP:

Watch Yourself

Watch meeting recordings, if they exist. Or make Quicktime videos of yourself explaining technical issues.

For example, I look a little too serious, especially talking about technical topics. So I work on smiling more.

Talk Slowly

I tend to talk quickly, so I’ll slow down when I notice this.

There’s usually no need to rush. High-status speakers, like heads of state, often talk slowly.

Questions

If you can’t answer a question, say it. You can defer it to the action items.

Especially if you’re asked for an estimate. On-the-spot estimates are often bad.

In case you aren’t as prepared as you’d like, it’s alright to admit it. Sometimes really high-status people say this.

Agendas

If you’re leading the meeting, it also helps to add a very simple agenda to the Google Calendar event.

For client meetings, it can help to create a simple Google Doc agenda. This takes some of the pressure off your speaking, as many details will be there.

For my weekly one-on-one meetings with my Team Lead, I like to create a document with my weekly update.

Social Mindset

Sometimes it’s hard for me to switch from deep thinking to being outgoing. So if I’m leading a meeting, it helps to talk to people in real life for a few minutes before it starts.

Still, don’t judge yourself if you’re not very outgoing at the beginning of the meeting.

Starting The Conversation

It feels abrupt to start without a minute or two of small talk.

If you’re meeting with someone you haven’t “seen” lately, it can help to remind yourself of what they’ve been doing. And not necessarily related to the meeting.

For example, I’ll sometimes search Slack for a post the person made, so we’ll have a good way to start the conversation.

Specific Gratitude

Some people at XWP are great at this. Thank people, and be specific.

Bad: “Thanks for all of your work”

Good: Thanks for reviewing and deploying the PR, and setting up a great launch.


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