Ever finished up a meeting feeling like it couldn’t have gone any better (or any worse, for that matter)? There are plenty of things that factor in to whether a business meeting will be beneficial for all involved, or a major flop. If you think you could do with some help, read on to discover five tips for nailing your next big business meeting:
Don’t Skimp on the Catering
One of the biggest decisions when organizing an important meeting is the catering. Many other factors are simply par for the course and can therefore only be done well, or horribly.
What you serve is your point of difference. Sure, coffee and maybe some cakes are fine for a small meeting, but when you want to wow someone, they simply won’t cut it. It’s also important to prepare for any dietary requirements that your clients may have. Including options such as gluten-free and vegan catering will score you points even if none of your guests specifically require them as it shows your consideration for those who may have different needs.
Know Your Client
Knowing who you’re meeting with is the single most important factor in whether or not a meeting will go well. If you don’t understand what your business associates expect and how you fit into that, then you’re not going to impress. Do your research, make sure you have all of the relevant facts and then tailor your approach accordingly. There’s no point in being super professional when someone has a proven track record of preferring relaxed meetings. Conversely, there are some situations where going too casual can be highly detrimental to your outcomes, which is why it’s best to be prepared.
Make sure you have everything you need and that you know what order you need it in.
Have answers ready for questions you might encounter. Double check that your space, catering and other things you may require are booked. Small things like this can go a long way to making sure you don’t embarrass yourself during what could be the most important meeting of your career.
Location, Location, Location
Unless they’re coming to your dedicated office (read: fancy building in the city, not your spare room that you use as an office), consider hiring a meeting room. In most cases, even a private area in a cafe is better than your home office. If you have a proper office space then that’s great, but if not, tailor the venue to your client. This comes back to knowing them, as having all the facts will allow you to pick the most appropriate setting. It’s also important to note that alternative venues can sometimes provide better locations depending on the context of your meeting.
Dress to Impress
The cliche “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” should be applied here.
If you’re hosting a professional meeting, a suit or smart blouse and skirt is almost always best practice. Stick to what you know works for your body, but once again, tailor it to your client!
One last thing: be confident. Your client wouldn’t be meeting with you if they weren’t interested in what you’ve got to offer. By knowing yourself and your product and following the above tips, there’s a very high chance you’ll ace it. Assess how everything went after the meeting and work on the less than perfect aspects for next time, and you’ll be reaching all your goals before long.