During the coronavirus lockdown many business people have had to adapt to the online meeting. Those who hadn’t even heard of Zoom now find themselves using it on a daily basis. The popularity of video meetings means that working from home in your pyjamas most definitely isn’t an option.
Travelworx specialises in international corporate travel helping business travellers cross the world for meetings. Clearly, when a business has spent money and its employees have spent their time travelling for work, it is absolutely crucial to have productive meetings. Nobody wants to spend that time and effort on a meeting which is a waste of time.
Whether you are taking part in a virtual meeting or travelling to a real life business meeting, there are some basic principles which remain the same. Here are Travelworx top tips for effective meetings.
Look the part
Whether you like it or not, people still make snap judgements based on first impressions. Make sure you are appropriately dressed for your business meeting – if you are on a business trip, check the norms in the country where the meeting is taking place. Some countries have much more relaxed business dress codes than others. If you don’t look like you have made an effort then the people you are meeting may not take you as seriously.
Define the purpose of the meeting
It is very important that everyone taking part in the business meeting understands the meeting’s objectives. Especially if you have travelled a long way on a business trip to get there, you should be clear about what it is you want to achieve. It is also important that everyone is on the same page so that the meeting doesn’t end before the desired outcome is reached.
If you are hoping for a specific outcome, such as making a sale or getting a contract signed, you should consider beforehand what you are going to say, so that your arguments are convincing. Think particularly about how you are going to seal the deal.
Set a meeting agenda
Holding a productive meeting is best achieved by setting a clear meeting agenda. The best way to do this is to set out an agenda and to circulate it amongst all participants prior to the meeting. This way everyone has an opportunity to add to the agenda or to suggest removing items which they don’t feel to be relevant. This will ensure that everyone has the same expectations from the meeting and can prepare themselves accordingly.
Do your research
If you haven’t met the participants before then try to find out a bit about them. These days it is perfectly normal to check someone’s LinkedIn profile before meeting. Make sure you know the role they play within the organisation, their areas of responsibility and their purchasing power, if relevant.
Ensure that you have all the information you will need for the business meeting close at hand. Make sure you have researched any topics which are likely to be raised. If you will need to have figures or statistics and you are not good at remembering them, make sure you have them written down or easily accessible on your laptop or phone.
If you have prepared thoroughly for your meeting then you will feel much more confident about securing your desired outcome.
To get your point across it is important to speak clearly. If your business meeting is with people who are not native English-speakers make sure you don’t speak too quickly. Check to make sure you have been understood and if you don’t feel that you have been, try to repeat what you have said using different words or phrases to explain. At the same time, be careful not to sound patronising.
Don’t lose your concentration. If you are in a virtual meeting, remember that people can see you on screen, so don’t do anything which might be distracting. The same goes for real life meetings – try not to fiddle with pens, and certainly don’t look at your phone whilst others are talking. In fact, you should make sure your phone is turned off or on silent before the meeting starts. When someone is talking, make sure you look at them and maintain eye contact.