How to prepare for a meeting

Meetings are an essential part of your business as a freelancer. Setting them up is easy and it can save you a lot of e-mails back and forth. A professional and friendly meeting can open many doorways, but this doesn’t come without preparation.

Here are a few tips of mine which will help you to have a positive meeting experience with your client and hopefully set you on the way to working with them in the future.

1. Read back over e-mails/texts etc

Before you go to the meeting, take some time to jog your memory regarding what its about. It may just be a meet and greet but make sure you are completely aware of what’s been discussed beforehand. Check over your e-mails and texts to see if there are any questions that need answering at the meeting or whether you were expected to do any prep. There is nothing worse than turning up to a meeting having not done what was expected of you. It immediately puts you on the back foot.

2. Complete some research

With the internet pretty much giving us access to any information we need, there is no excuse for turning up to a meeting without some sort of knowledge of who you are talking to. I’m not saying go mad, but at least be aware of what the company does, what sector it operates in and a rough understanding of the staff set-up that they have.

Check their website (If they have one) and look on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter to see if you can find out any revealing information. Especially look out for information on the person that you have arranged the meeting with. Your approach to an interview can vary dramatically if say it was with the CEO of the company as apposed to a regular member of staff.

3. Break the Ice quickly

Meetings are not meant to be any kind of test. They will either be to discuss requirements or for the company to find out a bit more about you. The most important thing is be yourself and give off a vibe which says ‘This person is easy to work with.’ Break the ice quickly with some small talk before you get down to proceedings. Ask them anything such as how their weekend was or if they are having a busy week. It will settle everyone’s nerves and make the main meeting go a lot more smoothly.

4. Dress correctly for the occasion

Try the best you can to gauge what sort of attire to don when you go to a meeting. Overdressing can look just as bad as underdressing so be sure to get a grasp of what is expected of you. If in doubt I tend to go somewhere down the middle. Wear a shirt with jeans and smart trainers or shoes.

5. Check your route beforehand

A cardinal sin is turning up to a meeting late because you got lost of couldn’t find the venue. Plan your route out before you set off. Have a look on Google Maps or check your train and bus times and always allow yourself extra time. You can always stop for a coffee en route if you are going to be early, but being late is not acceptable and will waste everyone’s time.

Conclusion

Whatever the need for your meeting, make sure what you needed is achieved and no matter how informal it may be, take some time to prepare. You will be amazed at the positive response you will get if you show even the slightest bit of interest in the company that you are meeting with. Be positive and friendly and don’t let anyone intimidate you.

If the meeting didn’t work out how you expected or you didn’t get on with the client, take that as a positive and move on. At least you know to avoid them in the future!

Good luck with your next meeting and I hope these tips helped you on your way to bagging some extra freelance work.