How To Prepare for a Business Meeting

Let’s say you have an important meeting with someone you have never met before. Maybe it is a job interview, a call with a potential client or a meeting with the head of a department in your organization. Whatever it is, there are some important steps you can take ahead of the meeting to increase your chances of a successful outcome. For our purposes, let’s say the person you will meet is called John Bromley. Here are the steps.

Here are six steps to prepare yourself for a business meeting:
  1. Know the type of meeting you are going to attend.
  2. Understand your objectives and meeting attendees.
  3. Review and study the agenda.
  4. Know the meeting location.
  5. Consider potential obstacles.
  6. Determine desirable outcomes and actionable follow-up tasks.

Your First Business Meeting – Tips

What is a business meeting?

The purpose of a business meeting is to find out what needs to be achieved to meet your goals, understand the advice that’s needed to complete certain projects, address concerns and provide further updates to your manager. Even though your manager is leading the meeting, it’s vital for you to be prepared to contribute while discussing your team’s objectives.

How to prepare yourself for a business meeting?

Here are six steps to prepare yourself for a business meeting:

1. Know the type of meeting you are going to attend

There are several different types of meetings that your manager can choose to run so find out in advance what type it is so you can prepare. Here are a few examples of different types of meetings you’ll need to prepare for.

2. Understand your objectives and meeting attendees

Managers aim to hold quick and efficient meetings to maintain the productivity of their workforce. However, take the time to ensure that you’re clear on your objectives for the meeting. For instance, if there is a problem-solving meeting, you need to be certain that you have a clear view of the problem in advance. It will be a lot easier for you to contribute during the meeting and keep your projects on track to achieve their goal.

Also, check in with your manager to see who the participants are in the meeting and get a clear understanding of your objectives. Once you know who will attend your meeting, you’ll need to know what key roles your coworkers are playing.

Some roles that employees may take on during business meetings include:

3. Review and study the agenda

Studying the agenda for a meeting is of the utmost importance no matter what role you play. An agenda helps you recognize the meeting’s progression, an idea of the topics discussed and which talking points to emphasize. For example, an agenda for a consulting meeting could look like this:

Depending on the type of meeting, managers may leave the agenda open until it starts. An open agenda allows you to suggest a change prior to the start. This can be a good idea when a participant is thinking of something that hadn’t occurred to you, and suggesting to add their item to the agenda to make the meeting more successful. Regardless, you should make the effort to get a copy of the agenda in advance of your next business meeting. Review each item on the agenda so that you can prepare for the topic of the meeting and potentially come up with changes to the agenda.

4. Know the meeting location

In an office setting, meetings are typically conducted in a conference room so there is a face-to-face interaction between all parties. It’s also an ideal location to incorporate audiovisual tools to communicate with a client or supplier.

Teleconferencing can be a good option for shorter meetings but may not be an ideal choice if the meeting is lengthy or if you’ll need to share a large amount of information. For longer meetings, using an online platform with video conferencing may be a good idea if you need to interact with the participants.

Follow up with your manager on the location, time and additional details of the meeting. There should be a firm date and time for the meeting and there may be a friendly reminder emailed by your manager to all attendees as well.

5. Consider potential obstacles

Obstacles can occur in almost any meeting, so be prepared to encounter obstacles when necessary and put them on the agenda if needed.

If talking points are added to the meeting then it can streamline what issues should be discussed, when they’re discussed and in what manner and tone. Also, an issue can be resolved before the meeting if it’s brought up directly to management, and it decreases the time spent discussing the problem and focuses on a strategic plan that addresses the solution.

You can also help your manager set standards of conduct ahead of the meeting depending on the role you’ll play. Therefore, adding meeting items to an agenda and being in constant communication with your manager on conflicts increases the chances they can be resolved in a timely and efficient fashion.

Ask your manager to prepare some resources for attendees so that everyone has access to the same information when the meeting begins, and it can be properly communicated to the staff from management.

6. Determine desirable outcomes and actionable follow-up tasks

Important decisions need to be made during a meeting with fellow staff members. One of the most common options for decision-making during a meeting is a majority vote. With this system in place, everyone in the meeting will be able to express their opinion. Overall, be sure to address the greater impact that tactics you’re working on will have on meeting a strategy’s goals. This way, you and the team can get clear on the effort required to meet and exceed the strategy’s goals. Therefore, follow-up tasks should be administered to each individual in getting to where they need to be.

Some examples of follow-up items include:

FAQ

What are 3 requirements of a good business meeting?

What to do before a meeting
  1. Clarify purpose and aims. A clearly stated purpose or aim describes the key decisions that must be made or actions that must occur at the meeting. …
  2. Create an agenda. …
  3. Schedule the meeting. …
  4. Post and send out agenda. …
  5. Circulate supporting information. …
  6. Make room arrangements. …
  7. Arrange for recorder.

How do you plan and prepare a business meeting?

7 Requirements for Effective Meetings
  • Decide if a meeting is necessary. A meeting will only be productive if it is being held for the right reasons. …
  • Only include people essential to the topic. …
  • Create and share an agenda in advance. …
  • Keep time and don’t go over. …
  • Stay on topic. …
  • Have clear action items. …
  • Send a written follow up.

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