There are a couple of simple strategies to follow in order to make it a success, and it would be useful to consider them before going into any business meeting:
Any kind of meeting requires preparation
All too often I have been sitting in a meeting where some, if not all, participants were completely detached, often had no idea what the meeting was about and why they were actually there. If you are running the meeting, at the very least send an agenda ahead of time, and – better yet – point out who is supposed to contribute to each part of the agenda. It doesn’t matter if you are the initiator or a participant, it is important to know what you are able to contribute to the subject matter.
Be prepared to assimilate information
Sitting in a meeting and finding that the other participants are unable to take in detailed information can be extremely vexing, especially if they have requested the meeting for information purposes in the first place. A business meeting is not meant to be relaxed, it is actual work! And the main reason for a meeting is sharing information about a common project, in order to make progress and get it sorted in the shortest time possible, with the least fuss possible. Being focused is a prerequisite, not a luxury.
Ensure that you know what you expect the outcome of the meeting to be
If you have invited someone to take a meeting because you can see them as a potential supplier, contractor, etc., make sure that you know exactly what it is you want to learn from them. This also means that you must first know what it is exactly that you want! Understand your own requirements, demands, wishes,… and explain them in detail to the person who is supposed to give you the answers you are looking for.
Know what exactly you are offering
If you are presenting your business, skills, products to someone who has invited you, they expect you to be clear about what you can and cannot do for them. This means that not only you’ll have to listen closely to what they want, you will also have to be quick about deciding if you can provide them with the results they are looking for, come up with ways how to do that, and usually be able to figure out at least a general idea of the cost (to be followed by a more detailed quote, of course). It’s a question of understanding yourself and your offer!
Be aware of what you do and do not want to be the outcome
If you are meeting with peers to exchange views on a situation, or maybe prepare for a common project, you would usually have a pretty good idea how and how much you want to be involved with this subject. Make sure to gauge your own ideas and requirements with those likely to be the outcome of the talks.
Apart from these five thoughts on how to prepare yourself to deal with the other participants in a meeting, let me give you three tips on how to deal with your internal processes:
Try to apply those eight handy tips to your next meeting and you’ll see that you’ll be much more efficient and alert, and leave a great impression with whoever you take your meeting with.
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My name is Tilo Flache and it is my mission to help my clients organise and declutter their work spaces.