Nothing is more frustrating — or embarrassing — than walking into a meeting believing you’re prepared, and then realizing you’re completely unorganized.
Without some form of order, the meeting becomes nothing but a small hum in the midst of your mental chaos while you struggle to find a pen or a napkin to write down important dates. Unorganized doesn’t mean unprofessional, but, with the more work that piles up, the easier life gets when you know certain bases are covered. So, without further ado, here are five helpful ways to stay organized during your next meeting.
- A Common Miracle – The Daily Planner: As a working adult, the daily planner is essentially your lifeline to any form of order. Some people work better plugging dates and times into their phones, but others need to write things down. Bring your planner with you to the meeting (if you use one), and anywhere else you may go, for a quick jot-down.
- Take Your Own Notes: Most meetings have a designated note-taker — or transcriber, if you will — but it’s a proven fact that writing things down helps store that information in your brain. You also understand your own short-hand better than anyone else’s, and you don’t have to wait to ask the transcriber to give you a copy. Lastly, taking notes keeps your mind preoccupied, which helps you avoid drifting off into your own thoughts about what you might have for lunch.
- Highlight the Issue: A small treasure to the world, highlighters are designed to exclaim “important.” Use them to draw your attention to the important facts on handouts or your own notes. Even if you aren’t an avid note-taker, highlighting can do the job for you; associating colors with important dates or memos is an easy way to stay on top of things.
- I Have a Question…: Keep sticky page markers and Post-It Notes on hand to mark a page that you had a specific question about, and write your question on the Post-It. That way, you can cite the material you had in question.
- Together is Better: Keep your pens, highlighters, scrap paper/Post-It Notes/memo book all together with your planner at all times. That way, even if you’re bombarded with a surprise meeting, you’ll be prepared for the best — or the worst. PRO TIP: Most planners have extra goodies on them, like pen holders or little bags to keep writing utensils; use these!
With a fair amount of coffee and these simple tips, you’ll be ready to master any meeting that’s thrown your way!