Business meetings can cause quite a headache – and yet, they are an integral part of many careers. Whether your anxiety about business meetings stems from public speaking, the fear of being judged, a poor prep routine, or something else entirely, these dos and don’ts will help you navigate them successfully and whilst keeping your sanity.
DO prepare ahead of time. Whether you’re the facilitator or a participant, flying by the seat of your pants in business meeting situations is a surefire way to let chaos ensue. Whether it’s by prepping your notes, going over your presentation, fact-checking, or something else, take time to prepare before the business meeting – ideally the night before, and not the morning of. This allows for wiggle room with time to address issues without having to rush to the meeting itself.
DON’T feel like you always must say something. While you likely have many amazing ideas and it’s extremely important to make your voice heard, feeling like you always have to contribute something to conversation – even when you don’t have anything to say – leads to repetitive points and conversations, and wasted time. Only contribute when you have something of value to add to the conversation and the points you do choose to will be taken more seriously and be respected.
DO keep notes. Whether on your laptop, tablet, or even a spare notebook paper, keep detailed and efficient notes during the meeting so you can refer back to them later on – whether in the meeting itself when addressing a past point or following the meeting when you’re unsure of what was decided regarding a specific plan or issue. This will make you appear much more attentive and organized, and show your coworkers that you take their ideas seriously. (Bonus – right down who said what so you can send a follow-up email commending specific people for their contributions.)
DON’T try to multitask. While taking notes on your laptop, you may be tempted to drift over to your Amazon tab and do some online shopping – resist this urge! Not only will you look unprofessional and uncaring if someone notices, but you will miss important information that you may need later on. There’s nothing more embarrassing than being called on while you’re obviously not paying attention – or more infuriating for your other coworkers who are properly dedicating their time.
DO speak clearly and confidently. If no one can hear your ideas, no one can listen! Likewise, if you seem untrusting or unsure of your own ideas, no one else will be likely to believe in them, either. When addressing a group or asking a question, speak loudly, clearly, and with confidence – sit up straight, make eye contact, and say what’s on your mind!
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DON’T dread the meeting! While business meetings can be tedious at times, entering the situation with a bad attitude will only make it worse. Try some reverse psychology on yourself – act engaged (asking questions, smiling, etc…) – and you’ll soon find yourself doing those things naturally. It won’t go unnoticed, either – by being engaged, you can help your coworkers become more excited about the conversation, too. Talk about a great way to impress your boss! Not only will the time fly by much faster, but you’ll find yourself getting more out of the meeting and leaving feeling excited, not drained.
Implement these dos and don’ts the next time you have a business meeting approaching and watch it go more smoothly than ever before – with less stress!
Comment down below with your best and worst business meeting experiences, as well as what made them good or bad – did you prepare beforehand? Leave it all up to chance? Learn any great lessons? We want to know!