Book Review: 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings by Sarah Cooper

cover88556-medium.pngSarah Cooper is a business genius. I can only guess that it’s out of the kindness of her heart that she’s sharing this information with people at the minimal cost of this book instead of charging $500 a head at a seminar. This stuff is invaluable!

And it works! I’ve sat through many, many meetings with directors, presidents, and generals, and looking back on them, it was these intelligent folk who actually used these methods!

Pacing the room is a sign a leader is thinking really hard.

Asking people to stay after the meeting to discuss important things further (like who’s going to lunch).

Using the “I have a hard stop” method? Smart.

She even gives hints for teleconferences:

How many times have I heard leaders tell everyone to “go on mute” in a phone meeting; particularly when you could hear snoring, peeing, flushing, or barking in the background?

Or (also in a phone meeting) ask “Who’s speaking?”

And the language she uses? It’s the exact same corporate-speak double-speak these same people use to appear really, really smart!

And it’s obvious that she’s got the background to backup her research.

“It’s estimated that we spend 75% of our waking lives in meetings [I bet it’s more!], holding 11 million of them annually. But more than a a third of those meetings are spent planning another meeting [Yes! I hate meeting-planning meetings!], while another sixth are spent asking someone to repeat what she just said because I wasn’t paying attention, while still another three-sixths really should have been an e-mail [So – 3 out of 6 meetings should be email exchanges? (See, I’m learning!)].”

“In a brainstorming meeting, the pressure of coming up with incredible new ideas can be debilitating. Luckily, the last thing most corporations want are new ideas.”

Plus she says some great things I never would have thought about:

“The most important thing to remember at a networking event is not to punch everyone you meet in the face.”

Too true! Too true…

But don’t take my word for it, read Sarah’s book and find out how to looks truly smart in meetings.

Though I have to disagree with trick #5, “Repeat the last thing the engineer said…” Cooper suggests that you can appear smart (and get credit for it). But in my experience here, the really smart people repeat the last thing the woman said. Other men are even more likely to dismiss the original source when this is the case, and more likely to give you the credit for the intelligent comment. I’m surprised that, being a woman who appears smart in meetings, Cooper hasn’t actually experienced this.

(That’s my contribution and you get that for free!)

Though, to her credit, she does give advice about being a woman in a male-dominated workplace.

Completely worth reading if you want to appear smart in meetings.

Or have experienced this kind of stuff and want to laugh your way through this book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for a copy in return for an honest review.

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