Effectively preparing a meeting part 2
In this week's episode, I build upon the previous episode and give some additional tips on how to effectively plan for a meeting based on the feedback from episode 92.
If you would like to get the most out of your meetings then you don't want to miss both episodes 92 & 93 of the Art of Business English.
The episode looks at 5 key areas in the meeting planning and development cycle.
Let's dive in and take a look.
During the pre-meeting phase we need to ensure that we properly prepare any handouts, presentation slides, relevant data, technical or financial information. We must ensure that this information is correct and that there are no errors.
Secondly, we should also ensure that we have approval for the meeting information that we will be taking to the meeting. This means that we should always obtain the OK from both people who will and will not be at the meeting.
Taking important information to a meeting that has not been approved could lead to some difficult or problematic situations.
Getting approval for meeting information
A properly prepared agenda is very important to the effectiveness of a meeting. It is important that the agenda list all of the attendees. This will ensure that on the day of the meeting both parties know who will be attending the meeting and what role they will be playing.
In an ideal world, the agenda should be sent to anyone who will be attending the meeting in the days leading up to the meeting. This will allow the other party to agree to the points on the agenda and add any further points that they would like to discuss.
If you are running the meeting you should try and ensure that everyone has agreed to the agenda before the day of the meeting. This will allow everyone enough time to prepare their points for the meeting and make sure they a have the relevant information.
There are two main things to remember with the first meeting. One, the first meeting is typically to set the tone and to build a relationship for the next meeting. Two, it is very rare that you will get a deal or a signed agreement at the end of the first meeting.
The key thing to remember for the first BIG meeting is that you should be focusing your energies on relationship building and not on outcomes. Yes, you may have planned to achieve some outcomes from the meeting, however it is usually better to ensure that you create a connection with the other party and really try and understand where they are coming from and what is their position.
Opening the meeting
When we open the meeting we are really setting the tone. Generally the introduction of each participant does not form part of the minutes, however it is great to make sure that everyone has context.
Moving on from that, it is essential that the meeting chair, put the meeting into context. Clearly outline the purpose of the meeting and make sure that everyone has a copy or at least seen the agenda.
Next, it is important to review what has been agreed or discussed prior to the meeting. Most important meetings have some background context. Why are we meeting? What has happened prior to this point to mean that we are all here today? Put all of this quickly into context so that the meeting starts with clarity.
It is great to have a analytical mind and be focused on data, results and outcomes, yet there is a time and a place for emotional intelligence. You need to "feel" how the meeting is progressing and make sure that you understand the other parties issues and position.
Additionally, you must learn when is the best time to adjourn a meeting and when is the best time to stay and try and reach consensus. This can be a real challenge and will often require a certain degree of experience on your part. The key thing to remember is, patience and relationship building over outcomes and finality.
Well, there you have the follow-up of episode 92. I hope you have enjoyed these key points. Please comment below if you think that I have missed anything. How do you plan for your meetings? Let us know.
See you all next week for another episode of The Art of Business English.
Watch the episode here
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