3 Steps To Prepare For Leading A Meeting
As you grow and develop in your professional career, a time will come when you will need to lead a business meeting for your company or will need to make a pitch to a perspective client. When that time comes, you want to make sure that you are prepared with all you will need to lead the meeting well, impress your coworkers or prospective client, and continue to grow in your communication skills and professional development. Here are three simple steps to walk through and think through as you prepare for your next meeting.
1) Take Care of the Logistics
While the actual content remains the most important part of any meeting, your coworkers or client will be extremely distracted if the right logistics are not accounted for. To start, make sure that you have a space reserved and set up for the meeting. It will look quite embarrassing if you don’t have a room ready when it comes times for the meeting. As part of preparing the room, make sure you test out any technology that you will be using. Whether it is as simple as hooking up your computer to a projector or have clicker to move along your slides, you will want to make sure each technological component isn’t your downfall come the day of the meeting.
Depending on how long the meeting will last, you may want to consider food and beverage. If it a breakfast meeting or company luncheon, you want to find a caterer in Richmond like DeFazio’s Catering to provide the food. You’ll want to think ahead of time of how many people will be attending and what food allergies there might be as well. Food and beverage is always a great choice to impress clients or make your coworkers feel appreciated.
2) Put Together Your Content
When you start to put together the content for your meeting, you want to make sure that you stay focused on who your audience it, what message you want to convey, and how you want them to feel walking away from the meeting. Is your meeting strictly for educational purposes? Is it to pitch a product or service to a new client? Is it to train the team on a new tool or process? Whatever the answer is to these questions not only dictates the information you include in your meeting but also the structure in which you organize the meeting. If you plan for the meeting to be largely conversational, then you’ll want to be light on content. However, if you’re really planning to take charge and be the one talking most of the time, you’ll want to include more content.
Once you have put together the content, it is never bad idea to review the content with a coworker to correct any mistakes you might have made, brainstorm any changes to the content that need to made, and also to just bounce ideas off of. You’ll want to make sure that you review the content for any spelling or grammatical errors, especially if the meeting is with a client. Typos will also be very important if there are numbers in the presentation as you do not want to misstate your data or prices.
3) Practice Your Delivery
While it may be common for you to go through your presentation in your mind, oftentimes professionals overlook the delivery of their meeting. So much of how the content is understood or digested will come down to pacing and tone. You’ll want to make sure that the meeting flows smoothly and doesn’t overwhelm with information unless absolutely necessary. If the meeting will run for a couple hours, you’ll want to consider placing a break in the middle of the meeting to help with the digestion of material. You’ll want to be mindful of everyone’s time, being sure to use enough time to not rush along the meeting but also be respectful of everyone else’s schedule.
While your meeting might be pretty straightforward, always be prepared for questions to arise. If your meeting is more conversational, you may want to consider different directions that the conversation can go. In either situation, you want to make sure that your tone and delivery seems confident and sure, but you also want to empathize with whoever you are addressing, whether that is a client or a coworker.
If you keep all of these steps in mind as you prepare, you will be well on your way and ready for whatever may come in the meeting. This will not only help you have the confidence you need to lead the meeting well, but it will also convey to your audience that you prepared well and are confident in what you are sharing. Ultimately, your audience will walk away with more information and understanding since you have put in the thought and work to prepare ahead of time!