team player

The Ultimate Guide to Being a Team Player or Not During Meetings

Every new year ushers in a season of planning and activity, and that translates into more meetings. We have two choices: make the most of them and add value OR be a total pain in the neck to everyone else.

For those of you who think meetings are a waste of time, we’ve compiled a list of five easy ways to get kicked out of any meeting. These are sure to help you get back to work (or even fired!) in no time!

Adding Value During Meetings

On the other hand, if you are serious about adding value and increasing your engagement during meetings, then you should read this list of five easy ways to make the most of any meeting.

  1. Provide support

When you’re invited to a meeting, maintain professional etiquette. Ask questions if you need to, reference related risks if appropriate, but don’t take over the conversation. If you need to gather more information from someone, schedule a separate discussion of your own (also called in today’s business-speak “talk offline”).

  1. Focus on both risks and opportunities

Recognize that every idea can introduce risk and opportunity. Before giving your opinion or making a recommendation, make sure you have all the available facts and, even then, avoid using value statements like “good” or “bad.”

  1. Be humble

Make sure you’re communicating by using terms everyone understands. If you see a risk that no one else does, ask questions to bring the issue to light and foster engagement. For example, instead of saying, “Can’t you see that entering that market will greatly increase our risk of consumer safety?” you could say, “How do you think this initiative could impact our risk of consumer safety?”

  1. Focus on what needs to be accomplished

Make sure you are familiar with the agenda and the goal of the meeting. If scheduled to give a presentation, keep it within the allotted time frame. If you have questions or thoughts to share with the group, make sure they are relevant and on-topic for that particular meeting (not just relevant to you).

  1. Provide risk information and perspective

Your job as an ERM professional is to provide the decision-makers with risk information so they can make the best decision possible. While you can (and should) provide your unique perspective based on the risk information, it is not your job to make decisions or to demand that certain actions be taken.

Every business in every industry uses meetings to foster collaboration and generate ideas. In fact, effective meetings can be useful to building a positive risk culture throughout the organization.

You can’t avoid meetings all together, so take time now to focus on how you’ll respond the next time you get an invite.

Will you frustrate your executives and co-workers until they stop inviting you?

Or will you make a name for yourself as an engaged team player?

The choice is yours.

If you have any particular stories or insights you would like to share about meetings, especially ERM meetings, I invite you to leave a comment below or join the conversation on LinkedIn.

Also, if you want to discuss how you can better handle ERM meetings in your organization, let’s “talk offline.”


For a bit of office comic relief on wasting time, hijacking a meeting, or making demands in a meeting, I always love checking out classic Dilbert cartoons from time to time. If we can get permission, I hope to post a few as an addendum to this post.

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Meet Carol Williams, SDS Founder & Lead Strategist

To our readers:

This blog was launched to provide strategy and risk practitioners with a go-to resource to better guide their efforts within their companies. Thank you for bringing me and my team along to be part of your journey towards better risk management, strategic planning and execution, and overall decision-making. Happy reading!

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