When I worked with the youth in church I constantly told them whenever they went to a meeting they should always bring paper and a pen to take notes. I’d like to elaborate on that and share the three things to always bring to a meeting.
1) Pen and paper for notes. Never show up to a meeting empty handed. Unless you have the superhuman capability of remembering everything (which you probably don’t) you will need to write down notes. It may not even be what is said during the meeting but your own impressions and thoughts. Write down your plan of action and then follow through and do it.
2) If you bring a problem bring a few options for solutions. In other words, if there is a problem to be addressed be willing to share some solutions to fix the problem. None of your solutions may be used but at least you are bringing more than just problems. Sometimes the solution grows out of the discussion.
3) For most meetings you need to not only bring your voice but also your ears. Be an active participant in the meeting otherwise you are just listening to a conversation. Share your opinion and listen to other opinions. Seek out the best option not just the loudest. If you’re not contributing then what are you doing? Isn’t there something useful you can be doing with your time?
That’s my advice for most meetings. Not all meetings follow the same pattern but a lot of them do. When it fits be a participant not an observer. If you can help it, never show up to a meeting empty handed.