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Whether you’re early in your career or pushing yourself in a new role, meetings are an important and often unavoidable component of work. To some, they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. But preparing in the right ways will help you feel more confident before, during and after almost any modern business get-together.
A key consideration in today’s world is whether your meeting will take place in person or online. Hybrid working appears to be here to stay so, you may well need to prepare for both types, though research shows it’s more common in some industries than others. Whatever the case, here are some of the ways you can make a business meeting – and your contribution to it – as effective as possible.
How to Prepare for a Business Meeting?
Sometimes you can get away with winging it in meetings, particularly if you’re not expected to play a major role. But for the most part, preparing ahead of time will help you put your best foot forward.
If you’re an attendee, that might mean reading through an agenda and crafting responses as well as noting when and where it will take place. As an organiser, you’ll need to check availability and send out invites; it can be helpful to provide a schedule for others to prepare from too.
Practice good time management
Timing, as comedians say, is everything. From trialling a presentation to planning your travel in advance, there are lots of different ways to keep yourself on track.
If you’ve got a big client meeting early in the capital, for example, getting the train to London the night before will ensure you’re on time and rested. You can also use any travel time to squeeze in extra preparation.
Have backups just in case
Unfortunately, sometimes your best-made plans will be scuppered by technical issues. Other times an attendee may take your meeting on a tangent or appear to disengage. Either way, having backups and alternative paths will help you adapt if and when you need to.
One simple option, if you’re presenting, is to have certain key slides in mind, knowing you can skip to or around them if need be.
Go in with clear goals
Whatever your role in the meeting, it’s best to have a clear idea of what you and others should get out of it. Creating clear objectives will ensure you leave feeling satisfied, saving the need for further meetings or follow-ups.
That could mean simply delivering your key talking points. Alternatively, you may need answers to specific questions or aim to make collaborative decisions.
Determine outcomes and follow-ups
On that note, make sure to consider how best to tackle what comes next. You may want to circulate meeting minutes or key outcomes to make sure everyone is on the same page, as well as arrange follow-ups if needed.
Whatever you judge is best; focusing on outcomes will prevent your meeting from taking place for nothing.
With these preparation tips in mind, you’re five steps closer to a successful business meeting!