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by Carrie Maldonado via Fairygodboss | September 12, 2018


business meeting

Work meetings can often be used as a platform to launch your career and build your standing with managers and peers. However, they can just as frequently hurt your career and standing with coworkers. The good news is there are things you can start doing, or stop doing, in meetings that will completely revamp your professional brand. Here are some credibility busters that you'll want to stop doing immediately.

1. Interrupting

Everyone has been guilty of interrupting at one point in their lives, and most of your colleagues will overlook an isolated incident, but serial interrupting in meetings does major damage to your credibility. Don’t be ‘that person’ who just can’t resist finishing someone’s sentences, or is so self-important and impatient that you only let others talk while you’re breathing, eating, or formulating your next sentence. Rather than win friends and influence people, this behavior will get you eye-rolls at best, black-listed at worst.

2. Arriving unprepared

Much like being late, arriving unprepared makes it seem like you have little respect for your colleagues. It also makes you appear incompetent. Unfortunately, your reasons for being unprepared will carry little weight, unless they’re extraordinary. Everyone is busy, with hectic lives. If you let that keep you from bringing you’re A-game to the meeting, then your credibility will suffer.

3. Getting distracted by your device

It doesn’t matter whether you’re answering a customer complaint, sending an urgently requested response to the president of the company, or checking your Instagram account, when you’re distracted with your electronic device during meetings, it looks bad. If you know you’re going to be interrupted, let the meeting facilitator know in advance and quietly step out of the meeting to handle the emergency, but don’t scroll through your phone during the meeting.

4. Getting defensive

Nothing can kill your credibility faster than appearing defensive. Your colleagues have the right to be wrong, and so do you. The most successful people realize this and avoid blanket statements. Approach disagreement with an attitude of curiosity rather than defensiveness. Seek to understand and your credibility will grow.

5. Qualifying your statements

Qualifying what you say is an instant credibility killer in a meeting. Usually, qualifying comes from a desire to appear humble, or not to be overbearing or arrogant. But saying things like “I might be wrong but” or “This might be crazy but” doesn’t make you sound humble. Instead, you'll come across as weak and lacking confidence. So, state your opinion in a calm and open manner and keep your attitude of curiosity.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.