It’s your big opportunity. You’ve been invited to join your boss for a major meeting–with upper management, or maybe with an important client. You’re the expert this time around, the eyes-and-ears-on-the-ground who’s here to share some insights from the front lines. Do that well, and you know your boss will trust you with bigger responsibilities soon. How do you do nail this meeting? Let us help you with that. Follow these succinct steps and you should be good to go:
To make those first moments count, you’ve got to do some prep work the night before. Type out or jot down a few potential questions you might be asked. You don’t need an exhaustive list–just a few big ones to commit to memory.
Do Your Research
Do your research! This advice extends to the company you are meeting with and the executive herself. You want to not only know what all changes the company has made and has in production, but you should be aware of the executive’s specific taste.
Let your Body Talk and Don’t Forget Your Etiquette.
Starting with clicking your pen. Always prefer a pencil over a pen, this is partly because you can’t click a pencil, the temptation isn’t there. Clicking your pen shows that you’re either nervous, disinterested or purposefully trying to disrupt the meeting.
When you’re led into the executive’s office, simply ask them where they’d like you to sit. There will likely be a few different options: A few chairs, and usually a couch.
You’re obviously going to need to sit down. This seems trivial, but the way you sit is more important than you might realize. Sit with both feet on the floor in a way that’s balanced for you. If you’re sitting in one of those conference-room chairs that lets you adjust the height, take advantage!
We often speak far louder with our bodies than with our voices. Non-verbal communication can be more powerful than the words we use. For a starting point, walk into the meeting with your head held high, shoulders back and introduce yourself with eye contact and a firm handshake.
Maintain Eye Contact
When you walk into the meeting room, you might not know all the people there. You may not even know who the most important decision-makers are. But you need to resist the temptation to seek out a friendly face and stay in your comfort zone. Instead, try to make eye contact with everyone right off the bat. If the meeting is too large for that to be feasible, mentally divide the room into sections and make five seconds of eye contact per section. This will help you survey the landscape and get a rough feel for who’s who.
Five minutes early is the perfect amount of earliness to show that you are prepared, prompt, but not too eager. Being punctual shows that you are interested in the company’s matters.
If you’re not enthusiastic on some level, you won’t produce quality results and you likely won’t get the job. So just be yourself, be honest about your interests and abilities, and chances are your unique worldview and skill set is what got you in the room in the first place.
True, you’ll need to be on your game for the entire meeting but nailing these quick habits within the first 90 seconds or so can make sure you get off to a strong start–so you can finish that way, too.