Preparing for Meetings
This past year has been a tremendous learning experience for me. It is a huge understatement to say that at 24 I did not have the experience necessary to start and run a company. Looking back, if there is one area where experience would have served me well is in how to prepare and run a meeting.
I am by no means an expert in this regard, but below please find some helpful pointers I have picked up a long the way about what it takes to get the most out of a meeting.
1. Do your homework and prepare for the meeting
This one seems like a no-brainer, but I can not stress it enough. You need to know everything about the person you are meeting with, about their organization, and about their goals for the meeting. Take the time to look them up online, talk to people who know them, find out exactly who will be at the meeting, and think about why it is that they are meeting with you, and what they want to get out of it.
2. Figure out what you want out of the meeting
Once you know everything there is to know about the meeting, think up a desired outcome. What is it that you are trying to get out of the meeting? What needs to happen at this meeting for you to consider it a success? This is not obvious. You might think you know what you want in general terms, but you need to be very clear as to exactly what you want to come away with. Are you trying to create a partnership? What kind of partnership? What terms? For how long?
3. Have a plan B.
In some meetings your desired goals will either be shut down or it will become very clear that they are impossible in the first 20 seconds. You need to have an alternative agenda so that you can still assure a productive meeting.
4. Map the meeting
So now you know exactly what you want out of the meeting, but you need to figure out how to get it. Map it out. Set up an outline of what you would like to cover, in a step by step fashion.
5. Memorize your opening sentence
Every meeting is decided in the first 5 seconds. No reason to leave this to chance.
6. Memorize a closing sentence
There is nothing worse than a meeting that goes on too long. When you have achieved what you set out to do, have a closing sentence. This is especially true for a presentation. Knowing when and how to end is critical.
Entry filed under: Start-up.