First Impressions Count: Top Tips To Wow At Your Next Meeting

First impressions count: top tips to wow at your next meeting

Luis De Souzaby on November 21, 2018

It’s an old saying, but there’s certainly something in it – first impressions really do count.

Cornell University psychology professor Vivian Zayas discovered in 2016 that people do judge a book by its cover – and continue to be influenced long after that first meeting.

That’s pretty important when it’s your company reputation which is at stake.

Often, we use meetings to pitch ideas and business proposals to other organizations, or to other internal departments. In order to succeed in our aims, we need a successful meeting – so it’s crucial to create the best impression we possibly can, right away.

There’s certainly no sign that our passion for conferencing is cooling. In the US every month, we hold no fewer than 220 million meetings.

Those meetings are expensive. Each one costs on average $338 when you take salaries into consideration – not to mention the travel costs of getting everyone there, and all the admin that goes into arranging the event.

When a meeting pays off and produces results, it’s worth every cent. New business relationships are started, contracts are agreed and the wheels of commerce really start to turn.

So when deciding to invest in setting up a meeting, you want it to be a good one, productive, positive and business-enhancing.

We’ve come up with our top tips on how to make sure you wow at your next meeting – with a little help from the latest workplace management technology

  1. Find the most appropriate meeting space for your needs
  2. Make sure the space is firmly booked – it may be more than one room in different locations
  3. Organize the meeting at the best time for everyone – including different time zones
  4. Make sure all delegates receive full details
  5. If details change, ensure everyone knows
  6. Consider the people who will be setting up the room
  7. Don’t forget supporting technology – video conferencing and AV
  8. Think about refuelling – consider the catering
  9. Get your delegates to the right place, securely
  10. Start on time.

Obvious, we hear you say? You might think so – but lack of organization, no-shows and the failure to provide correct facilities are among the top reasons why meetings fail.

And a failed meeting is no way to create a great first impression.

1. Find the most appropriate meeting space for your needs

This involves a lot more choice than it once did, when offices had formal meeting rooms and often a boardroom that was seldom used.

Today’s workspace needs to be more flexible, providing facilities for formal and informal meetings, and for agile workers who work in different locations.

Meeting spaces can still be formal, or they could be breakout areas where people can hang out and collaborate in a more casual manner.

Given this level of complexity, it’s worth exploring the capabilities of conference room booking software, which has evolved to suit exactly these circumstances.

This clever technology gives employees immediate online access to locating and booking conference rooms (and hot desks, if needed). Using an app, they can select exactly the meeting space they need, and make a reservation with a couple of clicks.

2. Make sure the space is firmly booked – it may be more than one space in different locations

What if your meeting is in multi-locations? Previously, coordinating this used to be a real admin headache.

In many organizations, conference room booking is still in the hands of administrators. It’s a time-consuming and boring job when they could be spending their time more profitably on more important issues.

The self-service functions of conference room booking software provide a solution that is simpler, less frustrating and far more cost-effective.

  1. Organize the meeting at the best time for everyone – including different time zones

If you’re organizing a video conference, time zones can add to the complexity – but not with conference room booking software.

This handles the time differences automatically. And by removing a major obstacle to using this useful collaborative tool, it encourages uptake among the workforce with all the benefits that brings.

  1. Make sure all delegates receive full details

So basic – yet so important. A scheduling system does it for you, with no need to send out emails manually.

  1. If details change, ensure everyone knows

No-shows are caused when people fail to find out that their meeting has changed. However, it can be can be complicated to make sure everyone is kept fully up-to-date.

Conference room booking software does it automatically, no matter how many details are amended.

  1. Consider the people who will be setting up the room

It can be easy to forget about the admin staff who are making sure the conference room is set up as required, with the right seating and technology.

The conference scheduling system won’t forget them, though – they receive automatic updates like everyone else.

  1. Don’t forget supporting technology – video conferencing and AV

There’s no video conference without video conference equipment, but a surprising number of video calls fail because the equipment is not available at the allotted time.

A meeting room scheduling system keeps a real-time inventory of all equipment at all locations, making sure it’s ready to use when needed.

  1. Think about refuelling – consider the catering

Catering for a meeting can sometimes be dismissed as a small detail, but it’s important; refreshments give delegates a break and help them refuel for further debate.

A good meeting booking system makes it easy to book catering at the same time as you book the room – and it included the caterers in any amendments or cancellations so there’s no waste.

  1. Get your delegates to the right place, securely

Visitors to a building – whether they are internal or external – may find it difficult to make their way to the right room; it’s also important for security to have clear details about where visitors are.

The answer is digital signage, which integrates with a conference room scheduling system and guides all meeting guest to the right space with minimal effort.

  1. Start on time

This is a major part of meeting efficiency – even a five-minute delay costs dearly when you work out the salaries of the people involved, not to mention the frustration delays can cause.

With all of the above points addressed, you should certainly be able to start most meetings on time, with all guests in place and ready to roll.

And if by any chance there’s still a meeting room booked and no-one meeting there, it’s not wasted space – the system will detect the space is unoccupied and restore it to availability.

So – are you ready to make a great first impression?

Technology can’t help you with the content of your meeting, of course…

But providing delegates with a well-organized meeting in suitable, comfortable surroundings with appropriate equipment has got to be the best way to create a great first impression. And with luck and your effort, it could be the first step in a long and fruitful business relationship.

Luis De Souza

Luis De Souza

Chief Executive Officer

Luis Desouza is CEO of NFS Technology Group. He has a proven track record in providing solutions for major international corporates, law firms, hospitality operators and venues. Luis takes a keen interest in technological trends and how they can be applied to space utilisation and improving occupancy and uses this vision to drive the development of our solutions.

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