Meetings are a fundamental and inescapable part of business. They are essential to build new relationships, strategise and are usually at the heart of everything a business does. Some meetings require a greater level of preparation than others. For example, pitching to a new client will demand hours of research, planning and practice before going ahead. In such circumstances, preparation is key – so how can you best get ready for your next important business meeting?
Be aware of attendees
You first need to know who is attending the meeting so you can prepare accordingly. Consider who will be present from your team and other parties, whether it be a client or third-party. This will help you to create your materials and topics of discussion, and help you to prepare mentally.
Confirm the location
You also need to ensure that you confirm the location in the days or weeks before a meeting. This is important to allow you to plan your transport and route to and from the venue. If you are travelling domestically or internationally to attend a meeting, understanding the location and surrounding area will help you to book your accommodation and ensure you are punctual. For example, booking a serviced apartment in London will help you to rest before your meeting and be close to the venue in the capital so you can arrive on time.
Outline key objectives and goals
Understanding what you want to achieve from a meeting is an effective way to optimise your preparation. If there is a particular issue that needs resolving, focus on how you can work towards this and introduce the matter without being direct. If there are a number of objectives that you want to achieve then draw up an agenda, so you don’t forget anything while you are in the meeting.
Prepare your materials
You will certainly have to construct and finalise your materials before the meeting to ensure that they are relevant, concise and error-free. If you are presenting, then prepare your slides or handout and practice your presentation so you are comfortable and confident in the moment. Knowledge and understanding is a big factor when it comes to confidence in meetings, so make sure that you research and review your information beforehand.
Give yourself a break
Preparing for an important meeting can be tiring and time-consuming. It can be challenging to separate yourself mentally in the lead up, but make sure you give yourself time to relax and think about other things. Grab a coffee, listen to your favourite podcast or have a non-work-related chat with a colleague before you enter your meeting.