How to prepare for a meeting

How to prepare for a meeting?

When you recently have been promoted into a senior-level position, the meetings you will participate in will require a different, more considered approach. How do you prepare for your first board meeting or other important meeting?

Belangrijke vergadering - Hays.nl
Read time: 2 minutes | Author: Grant Torrens - Regional Director Hays Singapore

You are expected to contribute at a more strategic level and on topics about the wider business vision. This is how to prepare for a meeting to the fullest extent and be ready for meeting.
 

Tips on how to prepare for a meeting

Pre meeting preparation tips

Make sure you fully understand the agenda items and can put them into context. This is how you will come well prepared to the conference or meeting:

Know the agenda
Ahead of the meeting, analyse the pre-reads and agenda thoroughly, identifying the key points for conversation. You may also need to delve further into financial updates, annual reports and previous meeting minutes to gain a better understanding. Make sure you fully grasp how this agenda fits into the company’s long term business strategy.

Know the current affairs
From share prices to budget reviews, board meetings often focus on issues which are largely affected by the wider economic and political landscape. Therefore, it’s essential that you don’t just understand the meeting agenda, but the world which surrounds and impacts upon it.

Know the board members
You may already be conversant with some of the members of the board, and possibly even worked alongside them once upon a time, but since rising through the ranks, their priorities will have undoubtedly changed. You should have some pre-meetings scheduled with your fellow board members already. Use this time to fully understand where each board member’s strategic interests lie and what this means within the wider business context.
 
If you can understand the agenda from the other directors’ perspectives, as well as in the context of political and economic influences, you will arrive to your first board meeting better equipped for the next step.
 

During the meeting or conference

Despite your seniority and career success thus far, you may start to doubt yourself, and how exactly you will prove your value in the board room. To combat this feeling, fully plan the points you want to raise, plus any ideas and questions that you have. Remembering the below will make you well prepared for a meeting:

Your ideas need to be next level
As I said, in this new position, you are now closer to the forefront of the business and the key drivers of the bottom line than you ever have been before. Therefore, your ideas must measurably move the business forward, taking into consideration the company’s short term and long term goals.

Prepare to be challenged
You cannot prepare for exactly what you will be challenged with during the meeting, but if you can first understand their strategic priorities as previously advised, you could take an educated guess. Your fellow board members may disagree with your point of view, and it is key that you remain composed, listen to their reasoning, and assert yourself when necessary.

Be concise and avoid too much jargon
As a rule, don’t use 10 words when you could use five. These time-pressed fellow board members will appreciate your ability to simplify complex situations and get to the point succinctly.

Responding to others
Your first board meeting simply isn’t a case of “speak when you’re spoken to”. You are there to contribute to the wider discussion, and are expected to do so. So, if, after the other board members have said their piece, you feel you have something of value to add to the conversation; something positive and non-self-congratulatory, then have the confidence to do so.

Observe, ask questions and make notes
For a significant portion of the discussion, you should strive to understand the dynamics at play and the areas of focus for the board. Of course, it is your priority to bring yourself fully up to speed, and if that means asking questions, then do so.

These tips will help you prepare for a meeting. Do you want to radiate confidence during your meeting, or work more efficiently now that you have a more senior role?

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