Monday, July 27, 2015

Preparing and Rehearsing for a Meeting with Your Boss

Patti Johnson has written a good Fast Company column titled, "8 Ways to Get the Most out of a Meeting with Your Boss."   Johnson explores how you can prepare effectively for these meetings, as well as how to conduct yourself to get the most out of these interactions.   Here's an excerpt:

Think less about your slides and more about the discussion
I once watched a colleague of mine endlessly tinker with the wording on his PowerPoint slides right up to the moment before his presentation. Of course you need solid content to grab your audience’s attention, but when you’re speaking to senior leaders, you need much more than a striking PowerPoint show. Instead, think of it as a tool for spurring the right conversation.  What decisions will be made during the meeting, and what information will be needed to make them? Pin down those objectives first, then plan your presentation accordingly. And stick to what's essential. Too many slides can signal that you plan to do all the talking or even that you can’t manage your time effectively. 

Focus on your audience, not yourself 
Anticipate the issues your audience cares about most. Put yourself in their shoes, and make a list of potential questions from your listeners' perspective. What do they want to know? Do they want in-depth details or just the headlines? How much time do they want to spend listening to you? If you base your presentation around your audience’s needs and interests, you can align your time and content to fit them.

I think the best part of this advice is that it encourages employees to anticipate how the meeting will unfold.  Putting yourself in the other person's shoes is so crucial.  I would even encourage employees to rehearse how they might respond to certain questions.  You also need to think about timing.  You won't have time to cover everything that you would like to discuss.  That's almost always the case.  So, be clear in advance about what your priorities are.  What must you absolutely cover in the meeting, and what can you defer? 

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