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Gain Credibility by Being Prepared

Kupe_Jan_18_BlogI received a tweet from a buddy during the first week of the year saying he had 8 meetings scheduled in one day.  Seeing as though there are approx. 8 hrs in the work day, those meetings consume his entire day. Hopefully the meeting rooms were close because there is no time between meetings to get from one to the other.  Unless he can fly like Superman, he was leaving early for some and getting to others late.  I should have warned him to not drink coffee that day.  No time for breaks.  Having a full day of meetings may be rare, but having multiple meetings in a day and back to back meetings is not.  Some people accept this as part of doing business in today’s work environment.  I say you should avoid it at all costs.  Here’s why…you need to be prepared.

How many of you run into meetings and say “why are we here again?”  Hopefully it is not a meeting you are leading.  As a business analyst a way to gain credibility is being prepared for every meeting you lead or attend.  Many of you know I am a trained Improv actor. My improv troupe was always asked if the dialogue was scripted. Even though we explained there were no scripts for the show, audience members just couldn’t believe it.  They felt the dialogue on stage was just too smooth for their not to be scripts.  How did we do this?  We practiced many hours to be prepared for any situation on stage.  Our performances were 2 hours long and we practiced 6-8 hours every week.  Look at other professions, like professional (US) football.  They practice all week to play for 60 minutes.  So why do we feel it is OK to run into a meeting and ask “why are we here?”  I would have been booed off stage, football players would be out of a job. 

I know this is hard in today’s environment, but do what you can to be ready.  Here is an old tip that I learned. I break it out if I feel the back to back meetings are just wearing me down.  Start your meetings on the half hour or quarter hour.  You will instantly install cushion between meetings.  I would say 99% of people schedule meetings on the hour, 9am, 10am, etc.  By starting yours at 10:15am you’ll have 15 minutes after your 9-10 meeting and potentially 45 minutes before your 12pm meeting(hopefully they are serving lunch).  That gives you time to prepare for your upcoming meetings. 

I have been in too many meetings were half of the meeting is spent waiting for people to arrive, setting up the projector and helping everyone understand why we are there.  The goals of the meeting are not accomplished therefore another meeting is scheduled to finish up.  This behavior just adds more meetings meaning less time to prepare and the cycle continues. 

Make sure you are prepared for every meeting you attend and do what you can to provide the necessary information so others attending your meetings are prepared.  This behavior will be received well and leading by example, one at a time you can change others behaviors. 

Now stop reading this blog post and get ready for your meeting!


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