Engineering meetings tend to become boring and uninteresting. You will find yourself drifting away to daydreaming or thinking about what you are going to eat. This list goes for times like those where you can act smart despite the least attention that you are paying to the meeting.
Nothing compares to the self-depreciating humor. If someone asks you directly what you think about a particular issue and you have not been paying any attention for the last hour, just say; ‘I honestly didn’t hear a single word anyone said for the last hour’. Or you can also go with; ‘God, I wish I was dead’. This works like a charm; people will admire your honesty while falling into your trap of making them believe how smart you are.
No presenter likes to go back to the previous slide while presenting and that is what you have to ask him or her to do it. This will impact the room with the fact that you are paying close attention and that they missed something. In case you don’t have anything to point out, ask a simple question from the slide.
The basic instinct tells you to not take that phone call, we suggest that you do take that phone call since when you step out of the meeting for an ‘important’ phone call, the remaining folk will realize how busy and important you are. Something along the lines; ‘This meeting sure is important, but he has something that is more important than this, better leave him be.’
During a meeting, getting up from your seat and pacing around the room is a gutsy thing to do but if executed with good timing, you can appear to be the smartest guy. Take a walk, stand in the corner and lean against the wall. Take a deep breathe and you’ll notice how everyone is busy wondering what you are thinking.
If you’ve got other engineers in the room ask this question that works in all scenarios; ‘Will this scale?’ The meaning of the phrase is not clear but trust us this works.
Make sure you bring a notepad with you where you can scribble down words from the lines that you’re pretending to hear. However, if someone asks you be quick to point out that these notes are for your personal use and someone else should be keeping an official record of the meeting. Be sure to nod while you pretend to be taking notes.
You’ll find a key engineer in every meeting (God help the project, if that’s you) and you should pay attention to what little words of wisdom he utters. Once he completes the sentence, repeat the exact words but slowly. All the wisdom uttered from the key engineer has now been attributed to you.
When the meeting gets to that boiling point where everyone is talking and chipping in like a fish market then that is the time when you speak like a boss and go along the lines of; folks, folks, can we take a step back here? While enjoying the silence that follows follow up with another question; ‘What problem are we really trying to solve here?’ You can spend the rest of the meeting feeling appreciated.
Anyone who throws a percentage, quickly transform it into fraction. For example; if someone says 25% quickly say so about 1 in 4 and the whole room will spend the remaining time of the meeting feeling impressed by you.
Get up and draw a Venn diagram even if its total crap it will incite a heated debate that will definitely continue for some time, in other words; you can go back to playing Candy Crush for another hour on your smartphone.