Growing up I had the advantage of having parents who prepared me for the corporate world. I managed people who unfortunately did not have that advantage. They were not developed or prepared. I ran in to the same situations with my employees, saying the same things over and over again to get the prepared for interviews, meetings, pay raises, etc. It finally occurred to me that I wasn't taught these things in college. I was taught information, but not preparation for the real world. After graduating you jump in to the corporate world and you immediately have to be better than everyone else. There is no learning curve - there's a disadvantage for those who were not prepared. So here are 5 things that you everyone needs to be successful for any meeting any time in any job.
1. Bring a pen and a pad of paper
Seems simple enough right? No. It was so annoying walking in to a meeting and there was always at least 2 people who did not bring a pen and paper. Yes, we live in a world where we can simply type it in our phones. That's not how the corporate world works. VPs and GMs who made millions walked in to our meetings with a padfolio everytime. You don't even have to take notes. Just have it out and look like you are. Amazon of course has a wide selection.
Padfolio - This has a sleek look and I love the color!
Pen - I am a left-hander and this pen dries fast! And I mean fast! If you're a left-hander you know what I'm talking about! Also, it writes beautifully! I use it for my bullet journal too!
2. Look Sharp
I don't care who you think you are. The way you look counts. Fix your hair, iron your shirt, match your belt to your shoes, get the morning crust out of the corner of your eye, and wipe the bagel crumbs off of your chin. Look presentable. Put a dab of cologne on. You want to be remembered, recognized, and respected? Look the part. Doesn't matter if you're entry level or the owner - people see with their eyes first - duh.
Now you can walk in to a meeting, listen, and leave. Or you can contribute. It's hard, I get it. To say your opinion in front of people hoping that you don't stumble over your words, not make sense, or be that guy who is talking too much. Trust me, the same crazy thoughts went through my head too. Well if you prepare for the meeting then you'll have the information needed. If it's an interview, hopefully you read up on the company. If it's a team meeting, hopefully you know what the project is about. In any case - bring something to the conversation. Make yourself useful! Show that you care!
4. Ask Questions
Again, if you prepared you'll have questions to ask. Twice a year we had a store manager retreat with every manager in the entire group. This is up to 100 managers in the same room. Well at the end the VPs and GM would go up and say a little something then it would be question and answer time. I always prepared my team in advance and made sure that they had 2 questions to ask for this time. It's a competition. It gets your name out there. Well when it came time for it - they were ready. Each person on my team raised their hand and asked a question! They prepared for it, and it was intelligent.
5. Leave an Impression
When you enter and exit the room - you shake hands, say hi, and if necessary introduce yourself. Smile, show your personality. How do you want to be remembered? Whether it's a sales call, an interview, a team meeting, it's necessary to follow this step. If you walk out without saying anything then don't expect anyone to remember who you are. The corporate world is sort of like the Hunger Games. Last person standing wins. Don't leave without making sure they know who you are.
Whether you are just starting out in your first corporate job, or have been in the game for a little longer - these 5 steps will prepare you for the next level.