How To Prepare For A Meeting To Ensure It Is An Efficient One
by Irene Chooi |
Did you know that at Vogue, any meeting that stretches more than 7 minutes is considered too long? That sounds like a very efficient (not to mention, pretty ideal) ship.
We’ve all been there. Those dreadful 2 to 3 hour-long meetings where there is lots of talking, but very little problem resolution. The worst ones are the impromptu meetings where nobody really knows why they are there.
The thing is, most meetings drag on because the attendees are unprepared! They try to wing it on site and we all know that doesn’t work. So, use these nifty tips to make sure all your meetings will be efficient.
1. Know The Objective
Why is the meeting being held? Is it your normal daily briefing or do you have to make an important marketing decision? Knowing the objective of the meeting allows you to identify your role in the room and helps you prepare your materials.
The easiest way to do this is to talk to the person who called for the meeting. Asking questions not only helps you prepare but also makes you look keen and helps boost you in your superior’s eyes. (Hello, promotion!)
This way, you’ll already know what you’re going to say before you step into a meeting room, and how you can help solve the problem. Having at least one person in the room who knows what’s going on can really help move things along.
2. Be Organised
We all know that one person who forces the meeting to a halt by running out for an important document he forgot to bring in, or some important statistics he forgot to prepare. Don’t be that person.
Make sure you have everything you need before the meeting starts. That includes a pen and paper for taking down notes, as well as all the facts you need to present. If you’re suddenly asked for information you don’t have, get back to them later rather than disrupt the meeting by running out to get it.
3. Know the Attendees
This is especially important if you’re having a conference with people you’ve never met. It can be hard to trust people we don’t know and introductions take time. Make it a point to research everyone who will be attending the meeting so you know who they are when they speak, which also adds value to the information they’re giving you.
This makes things so much easier even if you’re having an internal meeting - just knowing that the elusive Accounts Manager is going to be there can give you a better idea of how you should be presenting your points and ideas.
Anticipate problems, make it a point to think about what can go wrong in the meeting before you walk in. When you know the objective of the meeting and who is attending, you will be able to roughly guess the direction of the conversation.
Knowing what might go wrong is a valuable asset. You won’t be frozen when potential conflicts arise and you’ll be better prepared for any rogue questions that might come your way.
5. Have A Back-Up Plan
Not everyone will see eye to eye in a meeting, especially if it is about something important such as the future direction of the company. Prepare your points and have facts to back it up, but always have a Plan B in case Plan A goes out the window.
If Plan B gets discarded as well, stay calm and let the room know you’ll get back to them on this matter later. That way, you would be respecting everyone’s time by not trying to wing it on the spot.
6. Have a Stable Internet Connection
This is for our work from home employees or freelancers who are partly engaged with a company. As these situations are becoming increasingly common, having a stable internet connection is more important than ever. Make sure you are in an area of your house or at a cafe with a stable internet connection before starting your meeting; there’s nothing more inefficient than having an online meeting where people keep saying “I can’t hear you!” or vice versa.
Preparation is the battle half won. Now that you know how to make your meetings more efficient, the next step will be to teach (read: convince) your colleagues and bosses to do the same and you can say goodbye to bum-numbing meetings!
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