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~by Emma Sturgis~

We have all been there – that overwhelming feeling at work when its time to come face-to-face with the company big dogs. Being new, inexperienced, or in a learning position can certainly be intimidating, especially when you have to interact with your superiors, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, your first board meeting with the “higher ups” at your company is a great opportunity to make an excellent and lasting impression on them.

Keep these four tips in mind when preparing for your first big board meeting.

1. Be More Than Prepared

The number one way to fight nervousness, anxiety, and performance jitters is to be more than prepared. Make a detailed outline of your notes, review them, know them inside and out, know exactly what the meeting will cover and what you want to accomplish during it. You should walk into the boardroom feeling like you are an expert on the subject matter – and you will be if you have adequately prepared yourself. Get yourself ready and comfortable with the information that will be discussed and you will easily eliminate any feeling of panic during the meeting. More importantly, your colleagues and superiors will immediately be impressed with your thorough and thoughtful knowledge – and that goes a long way.

2. Be Organized

Make sure that the board room is ready to accommodate and host all who will be present. It is of the utmost importance to have the correct number of tables and chairs for everyone to sit comfortably during the board meeting. If you need additional or replacement office furniture, shop around for products like those at Affordable Business Interiors. Set up the room how you want it to be. Make sure that the tables and chairs are arranged in a way that encourages conversation and allows everyone to see each other and be able to speak to each other. If food is to be provided, make sure you order it ahead of time and have everything set up as needed – before the members of the meeting arrive. Little things like this make the difference in appearing professional and prepared.

3. Be Attentive

During the board meeting, carefully listen to what those around you have to say. By being an active listener, you are in an excellent position to learn a lot and also to make a good impression. Take notes as needed so that you can use them productively after the meeting to jog your memory as to what took place and what was said. Feel free to ask important questions if one arises, and be open to answering questions that may be asked of you.

4. Be Polite

Of course, it is incredibly important to be polite and professional at all times. Make the effort to be personable, but still behave in a formal manner suited to leading a professional meeting. A board room meeting should not turn into a happy hour chat. Maintain a professional tone, and you’ll set the tone for the entire meeting.

By following these steps and by having some confidence in yourself, you can easily survive your first board meeting. Stay calm, be alert and be attentive to those in the meeting with you. In no time, you will be on your way to mastering the board meeting.

Meet the Author: Emma Sturgis

Emma is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and rock climbing. Say “hi” on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2.