Regardless of how long you’ve been in the workplace, when you start a new position and you’re getting invited to meetings with people in “high places,” it’s always a little nerve wracking to know exactly what you need. Even if you’ve been in the same office for years, meetings can be overwhelming especially if you’re the one leading it. Proper meeting etiquette can also be hard to nail down. Let’s break down exactly what you need to bring to all of your upcoming meetings so you can make the most of the face time you get with your colleagues.
You’d be surprised how many people request meetings and show up completely unprepared. If you’re scheduling a meeting, know what you have to discuss and keep it organized. Research any items that could raise questions so you don’t get caught off guard. Want to go the extra mile? Send an agenda to everyone a few hours before the meeting so they can prep, too!
Especially important if you’re running the meeting, a water bottle is a necessity. This will help prevent those embarrassing dry mouth spells, and can give you an extra second to think if someone asks you a hard question.
How annoying is it when someone is late to a meeting or the meeting runs 15 minutes over for no good reason? Don’t be that person! Make sure there’s a watch on your wrist or a clock in the room to help you keep track of time. Everyone appreciates having their time respected. A watch will help you start and end your meeting on time.
Pen & paper
Even if your workplace is a tech junkie’s paradise, a pen and paper can be helpful in ways you might not expect. Having a hard time explaining your train of thought to your colleagues? Draw a flowchart. Want to remember to ask a question? Jot it down. Left your laptop charger at your desk and your computer is dying? No worries. A pen and paper will always be a helpful tool to take to a meeting.
An open mind
You’d be surprised just how many people walk into meetings with their minds made up. If you go into a meeting with an open mind, ready to hear all opinions, reserving judgement until a decision has to be made. Your meetings and decisions will be much more successful.
Always have a calendar on you when you walk into meetings. This will help prevent over-committing yourself when your boss asks if you can have the project done by a certain date. It will help you plan “next steps” if you’re working with a team on a project. Keeping your calendar with you and visible will also help keep you on track if you’re balancing a busy schedule and running from meeting to meeting during the work day.
Walk into the meeting knowing what you need to get out of it, but also what you want the plan to be moving forward. Have a goal as far as “next steps” so the entire team is on the same page. These next steps can be as simple as setting up the next meeting. It could also be as complex as enumerating exactly what is expected of each team member walking out. The most important thing is that everyone leaves knowing what was accomplished and what needs to be accomplished.