Q: What is one thing you do before every important meeting and why?
A: Prepare. “I read over any emails, notes or documents I have related to the upcoming meeting. No one wants to sit around while you fumble through notes or look through emails to answer a question related to the conversation. I also like to make a list of all questions that need answering, so I walk away with everything I need and I avoid the burden of post-meeting follow-up emails and calls.” Jaime Derringer, Design Milk
Define objectives. “Meetings are for solving problems and for communicating. If you’re there for a reason, be sure you are moving towards the answer. Whether the issue is about operations, strategy, personnel or the color of the walls, you must reach an answer, even if it is just one for the interim. Time ticks by quickly in a meeting. It can get expensive. Be sure you’re making it worth it.” Ben Gamble, Quincus
Set the tone and time limit up front. “I find that when speaking with founders of businesses, they can and will talk all day. They are so passionate about their business that they will keep going if you let them. In order to be more productive with your time, set the tone up front with what you’re looking for and the maximum amount of time you’re willing and able to meet. Conveying this message up front helps make meetings run more smoothly.” Cyril Agley, Talon Ventures LLC
Get into the right mindset. “Before every meeting, I listen to music that gets me into the mood necessary to bring energy, focus and engagement. Specific music triggers different emotions — depending on the venue or person I am meeting — so it’s important for me to get into that space, just like any athlete would prepare before a big game.” Thomas Edwards, The Professional Wingman
Strike a power pose. “Before heading into an important meeting, I make sure my mindset is in the right place. I never want to walk into the room feeling doubtful or timid. Striking a power pose (hello, Wonder Woman!), playing music that pumps me up or reciting a mantra are all ways that I feel confident and ready to nail the meeting.” Nailah Blades-Wylie, Wylie & Co.
Summarize my thoughts. “For every meeting, whether I’m leading it or just attending, I type a summary of what I want to get out of it. This usually includes two sentences about the purpose of the meeting, a list of my objectives for the meeting, and any supporting information. If I’m leading the meeting, then I send this summary out to everyone attending. If I’m not leading it, then it’s just for my reference.” Coy Yonce, Mantis Digital Arts