My first job after college was a restaurant manager at Pizza Hut.
Marie, who was my fiancée at the time, told me I permanently smelled like onions and green peppers. Luckily I didn’t stay long. That decision to leave likely helped Marie agree to stay.
My short restaurant stint also inspired this article.
We used a tool called the Ready for Revenue Checklist. It was a walk-through that happened 15 minutes before opening our doors for business. There was a long list of items that we wanted to make sure were in place, so that we could be certain that we were ready to serve our customers.
Before the first meeting attendee walks through the door, and yes that implies you should arrive before all the rest, you might want to make sure the following are ready to go:
- Tables are arranged, as you want them.
- There are enough chairs for the number of people you have invited.
- The chairs have been set to look neat and inviting.
- Papers, such as agenda, reports, and background info, have been neatly arranged at each place.
- If you are using table name tents, they have been placed where you want them.
- Flip charts are in place.
- The amount of remaining paper on the flip chart pad is sufficient.
- Tape, if needed, has been torn into small pieces and affixed to the back of the easel.
- Markers have been tested and placed.
- A/V equipment, such as computers, projectors, clickers, and microphones, has all been turned on and tested. If there is a master control for switching between devices or operating the equipment, you know where it is and how to use it.
- If people are conferencing in, the connections have been set up and tested.
- Any toys or meeting aids have been put out.
- The facilitation plan is where you want it to be.
- White boards have been erased and cleaned.
- The room looks neat and tidy.
- If a clock is in the room, it shows the correct time.
- Refreshments (if any) are in place.
Bottom line—think about everything that goes wrong, looks bad, or creates problems in meetings you have attended in the past.
Make sure things are as they should be, so you don’t have to mess around with them and waste people’s time during the meeting itself. A little prevention can make for a much better meeting.