Business Meeting Survival Guide
My company and I are working on my retirement. The management – now that they have passed through the denial stage – are hoping for a nice smooth transition. In the best scenario, they identify my successor, and then I stay on, gradually reducing my hours as the new Controller takes on my responsibilities.
I have gained a lot of knowledge of the company specifically and of business in general over the years. It is satisfying to see that my company recognizes that, and wants me to pass on what I have learned.
But in thinking about all this knowledge acquired over more than forty years of work, I realize that there is so much more I can share.
Sure, forecasting skills and pricing theory and generally accepted accounting principles are important.
But I know a whole lot of other useful shit.
Like Business Meetings.
Business meeting are unavoidable and for the most part, awful.
But here’s a few tips that will help you survive the dreaded Business Meeting.
1. Bring two pens. The probability that your pen will quit rises in direct proportion to the importance of the meeting.
2. Make sure you have a nice notebook. Preferably leather. Besides, you will look smart if you take notes. Underline. That looks cool.
3. Have a response prepared for when you are not really listening. Because when your mind wanders, that is the most likely moment that your boss will ask you a question. Here’s a good all-around comment for those moments: “I have seen some research on that. I’ll see if I can dig it up.”
4. Sit facing the clock. Looking at your watch is very obvious. But not half so obvious as needing to turn around to see how slowly the time is moving. It it’s right in front of you, clock-watching is much easier.
5, Bring coffee. You will need it. But sip slowly and carefully. You don’t want to always be the first one to ask for a bathroom break.
6.. Food. Sometimes there will be food at this meeting. Only nibble on the neatest of tidbits. Although it makes you look healthy to pick fruit, only eat grapes or cut fruit that you can eat with a spoon or fork. No sticky fingers. NEVER choose an apple or a banana. You lose all credibility if you’ve got a banana peel or apple core sitting by your intelligent sophisticated notebook. Absolutely forbidden: Powdered donuts.
7. Always have a tissue handy. There is no such thing as a dry sneeze in an important meeting. There is some kind of perverse law that if you sneeze in a meeting, you will get a handful of snot. You will need to be very subtle about wiping your snot-filled hand. Practice this at home. You’ll need it.
I’m sure there are more tips that will help you in your business-meeting-filled career. I think I’ve seen some research on that. Let me see if I can dig it up.