Whether you have a big client meeting ahead or an interview for a new position, preparing for your meeting can be crucial for success.
Appearance, Organisation, Approach and Preparation are the four main categories of focus which will ensure you get the best out of your meetings. Our extraordinary guide has put together 18 different tips to help you prepare for your big meeting.
Keep a well-groomed appearance - that means iron your shirts, make sure your clothes are clean, shine your shoes, match your belt with your shoes, and wear socks – no naked feet, please. Be conservative but with flashes of creativity. Look successful. Wear a metal watch; it is a subtle, powerful image which indicates organisation.
Gauge the situation for what attire to wear – depending on the industry or the person you are meeting, a full suit could be overkill. Some industries, such as Digital or Media industries, may have a more relaxed approach to clothing, and you must, therefore, decide which angle to take. A suit jacket can be used successfully in a casual environment, even if you are from a creative background. Trainers and t-shirts might be inexcusable to the wrong person, and could cost you business.
Shave – again a tricky one in this day and age; if you are from a particular industry background, such as the creative industries, then it is likely that beards or facial hair are acceptable, but bear in mind you still gift an opportunity for your appointment to judge you. If your facial hair isn’t quite substantial enough it can scream untidy, unprofessional and inexperienced. That is, unfortunately, the nature of first impressions; we don’t get to control them.
Jewellery & Makeup - similar to the beard issue and one filled with controversy. In many industry circles, these accessories of fashion are accepted as we move away from the formulated offices of old and into the creative, individual offices of the 21st century. However, there is still a possibility that you may make a lasting bad first impression, which could destroy any relationship you were hoping to build. If you are not sure of how much, then it is best to lean towards the conservative side.
Nothing shouts "I know my stuff" like a well-organised professional. In the first few seconds of a meeting, every action gives off a signal about your personality and the way you work. By entering a meeting or an interview organised with folders, briefcases, or the latest Macbook, you are showing that you are in control. It creates a bond of trust; I can trust this person with my business or with my money because he is organised. If you take the time and care to equip yourself with binders and folders then one can only image what your spreadsheet skills are like. These are the kind of signals which are underrated; these are the kind of signals that will get you in front of the competition.
Paper Organisation - Presentation boxes, ring binders and folders can all give the impression of an organised individual. Being organised in this manner allows you to feel more relaxed if you are pitching or being interviewed as you know all of your documents are safe and in order. This kind of organisation is also incredibly helpful if you need to hand out paper, again it looks efficient and organised which is the exact image you need to be giving off.
Pen & Notebook - What new technology we have these days! Yes, the pen and notebook are the perfect tools to bring with you to business meetings. They show that you are interested and observant. It is also helpful for obvious note-taking reasons; writing things down helps to clarify problems in your head. Try to take a brand new notebook with you as a battered old one will give the opposite desired effect.
The Latest Tech - Perhaps better directed at the pitchers, having the latest tech on show says a lot about you and your business. It says, "Hey! We are modern and we are on the cusp of change". It shows that you are not being left behind, that you have everything at hand to help complete the task.
The smoothest of transitions from your latest Android phone – casting a video onto the screen projector in front of a gaggle of potential clients is an excellent example of your technological advancements. Similarly, subjecting your potential clients to the awkwardness of watching your video buffer as it fails to load on an outdated version of Internet Explorer can be a massive turn-off, and shows how out-of-touch you and your business are. Now, we're not saying blow your entire budget, but simply be aware that your technology says a lot about you. If you cannot afford the latest equipment, then consider the traditional methods above, just ensure that it is presented in the best way possible (see above).
Composure - Be the Iceman. The Iceman stays cool in all situations. Staying cool in all situations is a handy trait in business. It means that you are prepared and can handle all manner of issues that could arise. For someone who is potentially hiring you, aiming to invest money with you, or considering risking the future of their business with you, composure is essential. If you have problems with keeping your cool, try some breathing techniques or mindfulness meditative techniques which can help to subdue social anxiety.
Movement - Humans are simple beings, we like variation when we are taking in information. When pitching, hand movements, expressive body movements, or simply moving from side to side on the stage is an effective method of gaining attention; however, don’t move when making a crucial comment. You have to stand still when making essential points to create impact. Take a look at Steve Jobs for inspiration:
Read Your Audience - Notice the body language of others; people will signal when they are ready to leave by assuming a rise position. They may move to the edge of the chair, lean forward or move their legs uncontrollably. Feet tapping uncontrollably also shows anxiety; a want to move on. Read your audience and act accordingly, wrap it up when this kind of behaviour becomes apparent.
Elevator Pitch - An elevator pitch is essentially a short pitch which defines what it is you are representing. The idea behind the name comes from a scenario: what would you say about your business or idea if you were in a lift/elevator with a potential investor? The pitch is about a practiced and rehearsed short summary with the intention of selling your ideas instantly. Knowing your elevator pitch could help you seal the deal in an interview or in a meeting. It shows that you are organised, passionate and above all have great skills or products to offer.
Equipment Preparation - If you are using PowerPoint, YouTube or even OHP’s (for the old timers out there) then be prepared for your equipment to fail. By preparing for the worst you will provide yourself with the opportunity to impress rather than deter your audience should the worst happen. Having a backup USB, or presentations printed out and placed neatly in ring binders or presentation boxes will show your audience or clients that you are ready for anything and that you have a plan B. This, again, is a powerful message for someone who is looking to perhaps invest money with you; it shows that their money is safe.
- 7 Ways To Prep For Your Presentation
Spell Check & Fact Check - Spell checking and fact checking in this age of content are vital. These errors are easy to make but even easier to spot. By checking out web tools such as Grammarly you can help eradicate these issues. Also, ensure that your presentation gets looked over by more than one other person as well as yourself in order to minimise any issues. It’s also worth remembering that US and UK spellings are different, so keep it consistent.
- Find Out More About The Importance Of Spelling & Fact Checking
Cultural differences exist in workplaces as well as the real world. When we say cultural differences, we are talking about the differences between, for example, Digital Marketing and Finance Agencies. The former is much more likely to be a relaxed atmosphere, with perhaps casual clothes and often quirky perks of the job. On the other hand finance is a lot more serious, suited and booted, with a corporate feel. Know who you are meeting and what the vibe will be; and try to meet them in the middle, not everyone is comfortable with one side or the other. A beanbag and a latte would perhaps be a little too casual for a potential investor for your marketing agency but at the same time don’t expect your Web Development team to rock up to work in a 3 piece suit.
- Tips About Business Culture In The U.K
Good Luck Everyone!