Ace your meetings!
In your academic life and career, you will have several opportunities to meet people. They may be your age or senior industry professionals. For example, as part of the organizing committee for college programs, you may be required to meet your principal, corporate sponsors, guest speakers and other dignitaries. As a professional, you may regularly have meetings with your managers, boss, clients, or stakeholders. These meetings are important for your college or company as they will help move your project forward. Critical meetings often decide the result of a particular deal or partnership. Moreover, since you represent the institute or company, it is important to prepare and ace these meetings! Let’s discuss a few effective tips to hold a good meeting:
- Prepare for the meeting: Make sure you understand the purpose of the meeting, be prepared with talking points that effectively but succinctly cover the objective. It is advisable to research the client or stakeholder in advance. Read up on their professional background, interests and pursuits; this will help you open the dialogue and make conversations more interesting. Send the agenda of the meeting in advance. Make sure you have all the necessary documents with you – brochure, business cards and presentation.
- Present yourself well: Reach the venue before time. When you enter the room, greet the person. Make eye contact and start the meeting with a firm handshake. Do not use your mobile phone during the meeting. Make sure that your tone and body language is friendly. Make written notes of important points discussed during the meeting. Be a patient listener, wait for your turn to speak. Offer your ideas when necessary.
- Post-meeting etiquette: When the meeting is over, exchange your business cards. Send an email with next steps, discussion points and proposal, if required. Don’t forget to thank them for their time. Follow-up with them from time to time to show your interest.
Lastly, build a relationship in the meeting! Make sure to break the ice and not go directly into your requirements. Be professional with the stakeholder and avoid any argument or controversy. Make sure that you are calm and pleasant. Often the first meeting leads to many more, so think long-term and avoid being transactional. If you focus on a win-win interaction, the meeting is likely to end on a positive and successful note.