There will be times in your career where you are not attending a meeting, but rather, running the meeting. You are the one; you are the boss of that “think tank” in which you have to put something into action, get a resolution, or rally people to support an idea. Whatever the reason, your boss has placed you in charge of getting a bunch of people in a room, having them listen to you, then have them accomplish something collaboratively. This opportunity could be an audition to the next big step in your career or a step towards more responsibility. You want to show up with confidence and command the room, “like a boss.”
I have run many meetings in my thirty or so years in the corporate world. One particular day, I was asked to present a marketing plan for a company-wide initiative to the board of directors. A peer of mine, Steve, was also assigned to present his piece of the plan. I was leaving for the evening when I passed the board room to finding Steve speaking to an empty room. I asked what he was doing, he told me he was practicing his presentation, and I better do the same if I wanted to “rule the room.”
Being On Stage:
We practiced for a week each morning and each day after work in the empty board room. We refined our talking points, threw questions at one another, pretended to be board members, and made sure we were flawless in our execution. Steve taught me a valuable lesson; the board room is a stage and no matter the length of your performance, you need to rehearse until it is second nature. There is no better way to demonstrate leadership than being informative, concise, and entertaining when giving a presentation to a group in the corporate world. Do it well, and others will look to you to lead other things. Do it poorly, and you will not find opportunity knocking very often.
Always Do These Things:
Aside from the planning and creation of a presentation, these are the keys I learned from that experience on leading a meeting and giving a presentation:
- Start preparing as soon as you are assigned the task
- Practice in the room you are going to present in
- Make sure you can present your information and still have ample time for questions
- Have someone else listen to your presentation
If you do these things, you will have the confidence to give an excellent performance.
Below you will find some “Good Reads” about leading meetings I have come across and found will help in honing your meeting leadership skills:
- The Secret to More Efficient Meetings: Skip the Agenda and Do This Instead by David Finkel
- Lead a Big Meeting With Confidence Using These Techniques by Liz Bentley
- 3 Myths About Meetings That Are Holding You Back by Elise Keith
If you find any of these authors as informative as I have, check out additional articles they have written by clicking on their following links: David Finkel’s Articles, Liz Bentley’s Articles, Elise Keith’s Articles
Showing competency when having to lead a meeting and give a presentation will demonstrate a great many things to your manager and peers. Your ability to communicate effectively, think on your feet, and capture other’s attention will determine how others see you. More importantly, you will show others how you can lead without a title and perform on the “big stage.” Showing up prepared and practiced lets everyone in the room know you are an expert in the information you are presenting, and you respect others by not wasting their time. Show up unprepared and stumble through your presentation; another opportunity may not happen again.