In business, middle managers spend about 35% of their time in meetings and upper management, including business owners, will spend even more, as much as 50%. With half your life spent in meetings, you need them to actually mean something and be productive.
- Being prepared is the foundation of a successful business meeting, including having an agenda and rehearsing your presentation beforehand.
- Being professional is crucial at work, especially in a meeting. You can set a professional tone in your behavior and your work before the meeting.
- Being organized is how your meeting will ultimately be the most productive it can be. Keeping the conversation on track and following your agenda are key.
- Being engaged is part of how a person connects with a meeting. Your employees will connect better with the meeting as they see you engaging throughout it.
- Being polite is a great endeavor whether you’re at work or not. In a meeting, politeness will allow everyone to be heard and let your employees feel appreciated.
To make sure the next meeting you organize is a success, you need to know the “Be’s” of business meetings.
The foundation of a successful meeting is preparation. To start with, you need to pick the right time for the meeting for the biggest turn out, rather than ambushing people at the last minute. You’ll also need to pick the right meeting room. To do that, you’ll need to know the type of meeting you’re having and who should be there. You don’t want to cram 20 people in a ten-person meeting room!
Before your meeting, make sure to check your equipment and rehearse your presentation. This can help you avoid any embarrassing snafus or hiccups. By running through your presentation ahead of time, you’ll also appear more professional when the real one happens.
Along with going through your presentation before the meeting, have a professional outfit picked out and review professional behavior. You should also scout out the conference room so you know where to sit. The boss should be the person that determines where others will be sitting. Experts say that you should sit closer to your boss to best be heard, but farther away if you are hoping to be unnoticed.
Since you’re planning a business meeting, it should go without saying that professionalism is key. Start off on a professional note by sending out an official invitation to the meeting. In that invitation, consider including the following items:
- Minutes or review from the last meeting
- An outline of what the attendees need to bring
- The criteria for success
- Copies of essential documents
With your invitation out, you should also confirm the meeting, especially if you sent out the invite awhile ago. Send the confirmation the day before to remind attendees of the upcoming presentation. On the day of, be sure to not be late. No one likes a meeting that starts later than expected.
During the meeting, use your professional behavior. Make eye contact and be sure that you use humor wisely. You should also keep an eye on the clock so that you stick to the time frame for the meeting. Always stay calm, even if things get heated, and speak confidently.
A shy presenter will not be taken seriously and a whisper will have everyone snoozing five minutes in. You should also arrange the table in a professional way, keeping all personal items tucked away and any important documents ready to go.
The first key to being organized when it comes to coordinating a business meeting is having an agenda. This is important for yourself and for those attending the meeting. Your agenda doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Instead, it should be simple enough to be easily understood by the attendees. Send it out a few days in advance to give them time to prepare, as well.
During the meeting, be sure you stay on topic. If you allow the conversation to veer off course from the agenda, you run the risk of losing control of the meeting and not addressing all the items in your agenda. You should also plan on leaving time at the end for questions.
After the meeting, you should also have a list of action items. It’s crucial that you follow up on these action items after the meeting. You can also use this as an opportunity to share your notes or a summary of what was discussed in the meeting. Consider also asking for feedback or giving feedback when appropriate.
Engagement starts at the top. If employees see the boss staying engaged in a meeting, they will be more likely to engage. Set a precedent that meetings aren’t a place for phones. Throughout the meeting try to contribute where appropriate. Throughout the meeting, you should be looking for times that your insights, questions, and comments would be helpful or move the conversation forward.
Throughout the meeting, you should also be mindful of different personalities as these different personalities will be interpreting information somewhat differently. That’s why it’s important for you to know your audience, including what they do in the company, the concerns they might have, and the impact of what you’re presenting them in the meeting.
Above all, it’s crucial that you are staying present in the meeting. All of us have been in presentations that didn’t capture our attention and the mind starts to wander. If you feel that happening, actively work on listening and improving your engagement. This can help you feel more connected with the subject at hand.
Being polite isn’t just good advice for our regular lives, it’s also important in a business setting and most especially during a business meeting. You can set the tone of politeness by waiting for everyone to arrive before starting the meeting. You can also be an example of politeness in how you use your smart devices during a meeting.
There are some meetings that are asking for the participants to offer up ideas. However, even if this isn’t necessarily one of those meetings, never discourage ideas. While it may not be an idea that could be pursued at this point, it might be worthwhile in the future. Throughout the meeting, be sure to not interrupt and don’t dominate the discussions. It’s good meeting etiquette to be engaged but not the distraction.
After the meeting, be sure to thank everyone for coming. They gave you time from their busy day to have the meeting, so you should show your appreciation. All it takes is a simple email, likely the same one in which you are following up on action items or sharing notes. It’s an upbeat way to end your successful meeting.