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, there are ways to make them different, interesting and productive, if only you could approach the matter differently.  Business meetings do not have to be something people dread, but rather something they look forward to.

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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, time while you are all waiting for business meeting to start is perfect 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

Knowing what the meeting is going to be about, and in case you are expected to give a presentation do not forget to prepare in advance. Power point or Prezi presentation, handouts, charts, and percentages; knowing everything and bring your papers with you. Have your agenda with you and don’t wander off, people will 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.

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Limit the time

Anything that lasts for too long loses its initial purpose, and 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 issues and to allocate for most purposes, and 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 a doubt, maybe you could even ask a question during the presentation, but if the person who is giving presentation doesn’t want to be interrupted, write your question down and ask as soon as they finish.

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Learn from your mistakes

Nobody’s perfect, and there is just no way that every one of your meetings was 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 you did wrong. Or if you have good relationship with your employees and colleagues, ask them for feedback after the meeting is over, and ask for advices and suggestions. You never know what you are going to learn and hear from creative people who are ‘hiding’ and keeping to themselves.

The key 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 as granted. Punctuality and the right combination of professional and laid back will leave you with colleagues and employees who respect you and always give their best.

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Posted by Lillian Connors

Lillian believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. As a seasoned business consultant, she tends to advise her clients to always focus on sustainability, rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast schemes. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and knocking back a couple of pints of pale ale.