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15 Business Meeting Essentials

15 meeting essentials

Whether you’re headed to the board room for a quarterly review or you’re just checking in with coworkers, there are a few essential items and pieces of advice you should take with you. In fact, here are 15 things you should consider for your next get together in the office.

Make your game plan

Your first list of must-haves is all about the arrangement of the meeting. If you put this together or you’re just participating, see to it you have all these criteria ironed out beforehand.

1. Determine the goal
Every meeting has a purpose. Make sure you know yours well beforehand.

2. Set a realistic timeline
Most people know to coordinate a specific time to meet, but many forget to schedule an end time, too. Make sure your team knows both. This will keep every one on the same track.

“The real goal is providing leeway for a well-organized and productive discussion.”

3. Make an agenda
Going hand-in-hand with your timeline, your meeting should have a set of tasks clearly laid out. You can make it follow a specific timetable if you think that will make it more efficient, but the real goal is providing leeway for a well-organized and productive discussion. Give out copies of the agenda so all members can follow along.

4. Prepare to make a decision
Accomplishing a goal means making a decision, so you’ll have to invite the necessary stakeholders to your business meeting. Decide whether this means bringing in clients, upper management or just your fellow coworkers beforehand.

5. Set rules and guidelines
In particular sensitive scenarios, it’s important to keep your bases covered with a list of rules that cover business meeting etiquette. For example, if you’re inviting a coworker that has a way of interrupting people make sure they everyone knows such behavior won’t be tolerated beforehand.

Bring the right materials

There are a few items necessary in almost every meeting circumstance. All of that planning will never replace the basics.

6. Pen and pad
You may think that computers have made ink and paper nearly obsolete, but that just isn’t the case. Computers are incredible for jotting down quick notes and staying organized, but you can do more with a pen – like diagram and format – faster than you can make a word processing software accomplish the same tasks a lot of the time.

7. Take a highlighter
A pen is second best to a highlighter when you’re analyzing documents, though. Make sure you have one handy if you’re going over any papers with your team.

8. Grab your padfolio
When you have multiple documents and items to keep together, you may want to bring something that allows for easy organization. Plus, few things look more professional than a well-maintained padfolio.

When your meeting involves tech, an extra memory stick keeps you covered.

9. Bring a digital backup
Still, it’s likely that a lot of your material will be covered using a computer. If you’re going over a PowerPoint presentation or just sharing a word document, bring a digital backup of the material with you. Many a meeting has come to a screeching halt because of tech complications. An extra memory stick keeps you covered.

10. Wear a watch
Not every boardroom has a clock on the wall, and checking the time using your smartphone can be misinterpreted sometimes and considered rude at other times. Do yourself a favor and wear a watch to your meetings.

Have the right attitude

Finally, make sure you’re in the zone before the meeting. This is often the most important element for everyone involved.

11. Stay alert and active
Drowsiness won’t do in a meeting. Grab a cup of coffee, a bite to eat or take a walk around the office 30 minutes beforehand if you’re feeling sleepy in the slightest.

12. Put on a positive attitude
Whether you think the meeting will be tense or not, it’s important to remain calm, cool and collected. If you foresee any complications, Monster Worldwide suggested recognizing the elephant in the room right away and moving on with the important business.

13. Get creative
Innovation is the lifeblood of each and every organization. That said, try going over notes, studying relevant materials and reading up on your industry’s news before the meeting. The extra effort may impress you superiors and your workforce.

14. Focus on listening
After innovation, successful businesses thrive off of collaboration. Even if you’re the main presenter, focus on listening to your colleagues and getting active feedback.

15. Have high energy
One too many meetings are painfully boring nowadays – so much so that Entrepreneur suggested scheduling standing meetings with no sitting allowed to keep things short. That may be productive in some circumstances, but there are alternatives. For instance, staying energetic can make meetings more entertaining and improve employee motivation. Involve others in what you’re doing, interact with everyone involved and provide information that is both entertaining and informative. This can help make your meetings fun and helpful.