We’ve all been there. You plan to have a meeting a week in advance and think you have all the time in the world to prepare, and before you know it, it’s the day before and you are trying to scramble to get all the information together!
The days seem to fly by and we are all trying to manage our time in the hours we have, so next time you plan to have a meeting, try these techniques so you are not only prepared, but feel confident and calm.
1. Research who is attending
With all the technology we have, there is no excuse for not knowing who your attendees are.
You can easily look up people on LinkedIn, Google and Facebook these days and being able to walk into a meeting room and know some information about each attendee will give you a confidence boost (and a conversation starter)!
2. Determine clear objectives
Don’t leave it to the last minute to determine what the key objectives are in the meeting and afterwards. It’s important to ensure that everyone there knows exactly what is to be discussed and therefore, what results are required afterwards. This will help to keep the meeting running on time and may give the other attendees assurance that you know what is happening.
3. Have an agenda
In addition to setting clear objectives, it’s also important that there is an agenda to follow for the duration of the meeting. Send the agenda before the meeting so everyone is across what will be discussed and it gives people an opportunity to add anything else.
4. Plan for the unexpected
Before you go into a meeting, think about potential ‘curve balls’ that you may encounter. We’re not saying you need to be sitting on the edge of your seat but if you’re in a meeting that’s discussing proposals, contracts or finances, for example, it’s worth thinking about some questions that may be asked.
5. Think about follow-up activities
We mentioned having clear objectives but it’s also important that after the meeting, key points are followed up to each attendee and what responsibilities each person has. It’s recommended that follow-up notes are sent within 24 hours of each meeting, so that the topics discussed are still fresh in everyone’s mind.
The time you spend preparing for a meeting is just as important as the result. If you look professional, organised and thorough, you will have the attention of each attendee in the meeting and secure authority.