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Our Top Meeting Preparation Tips

Our Top Meeting Preparation Tips

After years of online meetings, face-to-face meetings are making a comeback. We’ve adapted to online meeting etiquette such as staying on mute, and doing the “let me share my screen” singsong before showing a presentation. But how many of you have forgotten about face-to-face meeting preparation? You can’t sit in a boardroom in your pyjama bottoms, as many people do when meetings are online. We’re going to make sure you have everything you need, and that you’re fully prepared to go back into face-to-face meetings.

How to Prepare for a Meeting

Face-to-face meetings mean you can no longer roll out of bed 10 minutes before the meeting starts wearing your pyjamas. You actually need to get up and get ready! Don’t underestimate the importance of preparing the night before. Choose what you’re going to wear and have it neatly laid out somewhere. This will stop the morning panic of picking an outfit. 

Make sure you know where you’re going, and don’t leave route planning until the night before. At least the day before, check exactly where you need to be and the easiest way to get there. If you’re taking public transport, make sure you have a backup just in case your chosen transport is running late or cancelled. 

Packing your bag the night before is important too. If you can, make a checklist of everything you need and tick it off as you put it into your bag. You do not want to turn up to a meeting without your presentation supplies, or a notebook to write in. Again, if you leave your packing for the morning of the meeting, you’re more likely to forget something- especially if you’re in a rush.

A range of STABILO highlighters are placed across an open notebook, above a bluetooth keyboard.A range of STABILO highlighters are placed across an open notebook, above a bluetooth keyboard.

Here are some of the key points to remember when preparing for a meeting:

- Choose your outfit the night before

- Pack your bag the night before

- Plan your route beforehand

- Prepare lunch the night before

- Practice your presentation

- Familiarise yourself with your role in the meeting

- Go over the agenda and note down any questions you want to ask

Meeting Etiquette: How to Make a Good Impression

Now your meeting preparation is done, you have to make sure you have good meeting etiquette. As we mentioned earlier, face-to-face meetings and online meetings are a little different. You may have picked up some habits that aren’t particularly noticeable in online meetings, but they will be in face-to-face ones. Let’s make sure you make a good impression on everyone in your meeting!

There are a few key points to consider when attending a face-to-face meeting:

- Make and follow an agenda

- Be punctual 

- Be prepared

- Pay attention

- Dress appropriately

- Speak clearly

- Actively participate

- Ask questions at an appropriate time

- Introduce anyone new

- Be aware of your body language

Unlike online meetings, you do have to make sure you can project your voice enough to be heard in a boardroom full of people. Speaking clearly, and at an appropriate volume, will ensure everyone can fully understand the points you’re making, and you will appear more confident.

Be mindful of meeting etiquette that may have been appropriate pre-pandemic, but is not now. Shaking hands used to be something people did when greeting others before a meeting. Now, many people will be cautious and prefer to reduce contact with others. In this case, see what people are comfortable with. It could be an elbow or fist bump, or it may just be a smile and a hello!

There’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting room filled with a lot of people you’ve never met before. If you know there is someone new attending your meeting, make sure you introduce them to everyone. It’s a small courtesy you can extend to someone to help them feel more comfortable and involved in what’s going on.

The Meeting Faux Pas to Avoid

We’ve told you some of the things you should do, now for the list of things you should avoid doing in meetings:

- Talking over others

- Eating 

- Being late

- Forgetting equipment e.g. notebooks and pens

- Tuning out

- Yawning and slouching

- Making excuses for your questions e.g. “This may be a silly question…”

- Repeating others points

- Talking to much

- Using your mobile phone

A gold and marble pen sits on a light wooden desk next to an open magazine.A gold and marble pen sits on a light wooden desk next to an open magazine.

Some of these points may be obvious. Of course you shouldn’t be late to your meeting, it would reflect very poorly on you. Others are less obvious.

 Being aware of your body language is one you definitely need to remember. Make sure you’re not slouching back in your chair with your arms folded and yawning. This will make everyone think you’re not interested and just waiting for the meeting to finish. It’s also extremely rude if someone is presenting in a meeting. They will have put time and effort into creating and preparing the presentation, so you need to give them your full attention.

Tuning out is one of the worst things you can do. If you don’t remain focused, you can easily miss key pieces of information. It’s obvious to everyone attending the meeting that you will have zoned out if you later ask a question about something that has already been covered. Our minds wander, it’s completely normal. To help keep yourself focused you may find using something like a fidget toy helpful.

Using your mobile phone again is a big no, unless you are using it specifically for the meeting. Keep it switched off and in your bag. You don’t want notifications pinging away while someone is trying to present. They are also a big distraction for you if you see it flash up with a text from a friend. Stay focused, and keep your phone tucked away.

Attending face-to-face meetings after such a long break will be a difficult adjustment for many. As long as you keep these tips in mind and do everything you can to prepare for your meetings, you’ll be fine!

Get ready for your next meeting with Ryman, we have everything you need on our website!