Is there a person in this world who loves business meetings?
Highly unlikely, to be honest; even when they are not stressful and exhausting, business meetings make people leave their work and sit for an hour or so, listening to the things they don’t find interesting.
However, business meetings do not have to be something people dread, but rather something they look forward to. There are ways to make them different, interesting and productive, you just need to approach the matter differently.
Brighten up the atmosphere beforehand
Know when to be there and how to act; you probably don’t know everyone who is going to be at the meeting, and you should take this opportunity to get to know them. Small talk before a meeting will ease the tension and make people feel more comfortable.
Besides, while you are all waiting for the business meeting to start is the perfect time to get to know other people better.
Also, you should introduce other people as well. If you know two people who don’t know each other, make introductions from higher rank first.
Know your part
If you know what the meeting is going to be about, don’t forget to prepare in advance.
In case you are expected to give a presentation, use PowerPoint or platforms such as Visme or Prezi to create presentations. You can also print handouts with the most important charts and percentages and don’t forget to bring your papers with you.
Stick to your agenda with you and don’t wander off so people can follow your presentation more easily. Moreover, if you are going to give a presentation, think about what others might ask you and prepare answers; knowing specific information about a topic will give you confidence.
Limit the time
Anything that lasts too long loses its initial purpose. The same goes for business meetings. Business meetings that last for longer than two hours leave people exhausted and nervous.
An hour and a half is enough time to cover most of the issues. If you know that meetings tend to drag on for too long, put on the finishing time on the agenda.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to do that and meeting is semi-formal, schedule it an hour before lunch break or an hour before the end of work.
If you have an issue that needs to be introduced, it can generally be done within ten minutes.
Know when to ask questions
Generally speaking, questions should be asked in the end, but do not be that person that keeps asking questions when everyone else is getting ready to leave the room.
If you have any doubts, maybe you could even ask a question during the presentation, but if the person who is giving the presentation doesn’t want to be interrupted, write your question down and ask as soon as they finish.
Learn from your mistakes
Nobody’s perfect, and there is just no way that every one of your meetings will be perfect and productive.
Learning from your mistakes is the key to growing and improving; review past presentations, ask for anonymous evaluations, and focus on whatever it was that you did wrong. Or if you have a good relationship with your employees and colleagues, ask them for feedback after the meeting is over.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and suggestions. You never know what you’re going to learn and hear from creative people who are ‘hiding’ and keeping to themselves.
The key to successful business meetings is to show understanding and respect to everyone. They have taken their time to be here with you, and that is not something that should be taken for granted.
Punctuality and the right combination of professional and laid back approach will leave you with colleagues and employees who respect you and always give their best.