Every month I write about HR compliance or HR issues but this month I want to shake it up a bit and share some of my recent pet peeves. Most business owners have been conducting meetings virtually for over a year now and you would think we’re getting pretty good at it. I have however become disappointed and frustrated during some meetings and decided to share my pet peeves and some best practices.

It is important to be prepared when you have an in-person or Zoom meeting. The people you are meeting with will expect you to be at the top of your game.

  • Do a quick search on the people you will be meeting with. Check their firm bio, LinkedIn profile and look for any recent news that an internet search brings up
  • Make sure your technology works, log in at least 10 minutes early to ensure you have the latest software update and your mic and camera are working
  • Dress the way you would if you were meeting at their office (at least from the waist up). Make sure the camera is at eye level and you are lit from the front (not from overhead or behind).
  • Position yourself so there is nothing distracting, moving or unprofessional in the frame behind you.
  • Outline an agenda. What do you want to ask? Anything you want to make sure you mention? Write it out ahead of time.

I always have an agenda for any business meeting and most of the time share it ahead of time and see if the person I am meeting with wants to add anything.

DURING THE MEETING THESE ARE VERY IMPORTANT:

  • Pay attention the whole time. Turn off computer system notifications and close out all browser windows, including your email. Put your phone away.
  • Do your best not to move too much. Getting up, moving the camera, shuffling papers, are all very distracting.
  • Have a paper and pen ready to jot down notes.
  • Start with introductions. In a meeting of three or more, ask participants to share a bit about themselves and consider asking a specific question that will help to break the ice and get to know one another better.

QUESTIONS TO GET TO KNOW PARTICIPANTS:

  • How did your most recent clients find you?
  • What kind of work do you find most interesting? Which clients do you most enjoy working with?
  • What are you most looking forward to right now, personally or professionally?
  • Are you watching, reading or listening to anything interesting right now?

To keep the relationship moving for- ward you need a next step. What is the call to action to use an overused phrase.

Before you end the meeting, let the participants understand you will be following up with them, what you will do and by when.

Follow up with whatever you said you would, ideally within two business days. I like to send an email after the meeting stating “Based on our conversation the other day, I want to confirm these action items:

  1. I will do this
  2. I will also do that
  3. You will send me this

I hope you have found this information valuable and there are some takeaways you can use. When we return to in-person meetings some of these practices will be useful too.

With special thanks to Equinox Strategy Partners for some of these ideas.

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