Monday, November 19, 2012

Preparation Is Key To A Successful Meeting

I've written before about how disgusted I am when I attend a meeting, the speaker shows up late and unprepared, then bitches about "technology" when he discovered his laptop won't work with the projector. Or when he left his material on a shared drive that he doesn't have access to on the conference room network.

Well, I live by my words. I had a multi-hour teleconference today, attended by people around the United States and even overseas. I booked a conference room for the entire day. I also scheduled the meeting to start an hour after my conference room reservation. This was for two reasons. One, so I didn't have to rush out the door as early. I had some slack time to play with in case traffic hit. Two, so I had time to prep and make sure everything was ready to go.

I showed up about 40 minutes before the meeting started (again, I purposely scheduled it that way.) I'm glad I did, too. I guess the person I spoke with misunderstood me. I asked if I could connect my work laptop to the projector, and if I could connect my laptop to the network so I should give a presentation over the Internet through our teleconference software. I was led to believe this was the case.

It wasn't. Despite the conference room having more network jacks on the wall than some router closets I've seen, none of them appeared to go anywhere. There was wireless, but my work laptop is stuck several years in the past. It doesn't have wireless. There was a computer in the conference room connected to the projector and the Internet.

I managed to get a CD, and burn the presentation and document. Then I ran them off the conference room computer.

The meeting kicked off on time, and nobody outside the conference room had any idea of the challenges we faced initially. I didn't have to spend time whining about "technology" (I'm an IT professional; that would be embarrassing; like a car mechanic complaining about a wrench).

This is my policy. I ALWAYS schedule myself to show up at least 15 minutes prior to a meeting to make sure everything works. I schedule more time if it's a meeting in an unfamiliar location, like today.

Maybe I should print this out and carry it in my wallet for the next time somebody shows up late for a meeting and complains about "technology".


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