SURVIVE A CONFERENCE-ROOM AMBUSH
Dominate the field
It's vital that you open the meeting not them. This is your chance to set the agenda. As an icebreaker, bring up a recent controversial news story. While debate ensues, it'll but you more time to think.
Engage on your terms
Within the first five minutes, suggest a date for a follow-up meeting to finalize any decisions. This reframes today's talk as a more "exploratory" and reduces the odds that you'll have to make any real commitments.
Finally, always invite an irrelevant staff member so you can ask question on their behalf. "Could you run through Project X, just so Mike's clued in?" You'll soon be fully briefed, without giving the game away.
"Step out of a meeting occasionally for an important phone call," says Sarah Cooper, author of 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. "Everyone will see you as busy and in demand."