Maybe you work one-on-one with the head honcho every day or perhaps you only get a face-to-face on very rare occasions. Whenever you get the chance to sit down and have a meeting with the big guns, it’s best to make it as productive as possible. It’s also a chance to show your stuff and leave a lasting impression of who you are and what you have to offer.
Here are 10 tips to help you do that:
Ask for an agenda prior to the meeting
If there’s not one available, offer to create one to help keep the meeting focused and on track. If the meeting is less formal than that, be sure that the goal of the meeting is at least spoken out loud and agreed upon by both of you.
By knowing the goal of the meeting, you’ll be able to gather any appropriate documents you might need to take with you. For example, if the meeting is to review your performance and discuss a possible promotion, you would want to bring copies of letters from clients complimenting you on your work or a table showing your recent sales and the impact they had on your team.
Dress to impress
Not much needs to be said about this one except that it is more important than you probably think. Even if the normal dress at your company is fairly casual, step it up a few notches.
You want your boss to take notice. You should look better than you do on a regular basis.
Take notes during the meeting
This shows that you are listening and that you plan to review what was discussed later. It also indicates that you are already considering the follow up that will be done after the meeting.
The notes are handy for exactly this reason. You may come out of the meeting with a list of action items that you will need to remember to take care of in the future.
Show enthusiasm and positivity
Just like you do for a job interview, put on the shiny-happy hat. Yes, it’s true that sometimes you have to address a complaint, and in that case see number 5.
Never enter a meeting with a complaint that you don’t have at least one solution for. I know this is difficult, but how are you going to enter a meeting with your boss, hand him a problem, and tell him to work it out?
He’s going to throw it right back to you and ask what you think the answer is. So, go prepared.
In my opinion, you should take 2 or 3 possible solutions. If you are absolutely stuck, you must express that you’ve given the topic much consideration and ruled out several possible solutions in the process.
Make a connection with your boss. This is going to vary for every situation, but try to show a little personality. Most people in a leadership position have great social personalities. You just have to coax it out of them sometimes.
If you know their favorite ball team, comment on how they’ve been doing. If you know they play golf, ask how their game is doing. If they like jazz, tell them about a new jazz band you heard recently. Do your research and be prepared for a little small talk.
Don’t be afraid to voice big ideas. Show your understanding (or curiosity) for the bigger picture. Don’t limit yourself by sticking topics related only to your job. Show broad interest and they’ll start looking at you as a potential future leader.
Ask clarification questions
Don’t ever – and I mean ever – say that you understand something if you don’t. I can’t stress this enough.
It’s like the episode of Seinfeld when George was working on a project for his boss and he had no idea what it was. George didn’t hear him but he acted like he understood the assignment.
Next thing he knew, he was in charge of something that was a complete mystery. It was an excellent episode and also very true.
People always nod and go along with things in a meeting, thinking that they can figure it out later. Don’t leave that office with questions. I have learned that the hard way. So now, I ask questions and then before I leave, I restate what we’ve discussed and accomplished.
Either by email, mail or with a telephone call, let your boss know you appreciate the time they spent with you. Choose whatever is most appropriate.
I see and meet my boss everyday. If we have a special one-on-one, I make sure to say thank you at the end of the day to reinforce that I know it was out of the ordinary and I appreciate the time.
If you leave with a list of action items, try to establish agreed upon dates when they should be accomplished. Then, follow through and meet that deadline.
I used to work with someone who talked big during meetings but never followed through. The meetings became pointless. Don’t let this happen and think your boss won’t notice. He’ll definitely notice. He might not approach the topic, but he’ll notice.
Written by Chrissy of The Execuitve Assistant’s Tool Box. Visit her site for more on professional or personal development. Popular posts include 5 Tips for Better Relationships at Work and How to Be Proactive.