The boardroom can be a stressful place for most people. With a range of issues to clear up in a limited amount of time, the race to make the right decision is on. How people react in meetings is extremely dependent of their experience and perceptions of the environment around them.
We take a look at how an intern might feel about a meeting compared to the CEO; head’s up, it’s a whole different ballgame.
Before the Meeting
Intern: How exciting! What a great experience to attend a meeting and see how things really operate from the inside. If I’m lucky I might even get to share my opinions with some very important people. A real time to shine!
CEO: Another meeting? This is only one of the five I have today, and it is smack bang in the middle of all of them. Better fire up the coffee machine, this is going to be another long, busy day. Hopefully we’ll come to some good conclusions.
In the meeting room
Intern: Ok, so the boardroom is a lot more intimidating than I thought. I’ve been tasked with keeping the minutes so I better focus and stay alert. I’ve done my homework on who is attending and have familiarised myself with the minutes so I can keep up with the conversation.
CEO: My biggest pet peeve is lateness and some of our attendees have managed to push this button already. We are now ten minutes behind schedule and they caused a disruption when they finally got here. Time is money. Let’s get passed formalities and get straight down to business.
The meeting kicks off
Intern: Everyone sounds so important. I can’t wait until I have this level of experience, they are fantastic business role models. But why do I keep expecting the CEO to point his finger any second now and shout, “You’re fired”, Alan Sugar style?
CEO: There is a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time so we need to stick closely to the agenda to make sure we get what we need from this time. My finance director is known to dominate meetings so it’s important it is facilitated correctly so everyone gets their say.
In full swing
Intern: Help. Everyone is talking so fast using completely unfamiliar language. I’m trying to get as much down as possible but I’m writing so quickly I think my hand might drop off any minute now. Never knew meetings could be this long either. One hour in and we are only half way through?!
CEO: Our intern is certainly a worker. Hats off to him if he’s managed to keep up with all of this jargon. I can tell that he has thoroughly prepared; if only I could say the same about everyone else in the room. I feel like we are getting closer to where we need to be.
At the conclusion
Intern: The CEO really is a skilled negotiator. At times I thought things weren’t going to go his way but he knows how to deal with people tactfully yet conclusively. It is easy to see why he has gone so far.
CEO: The right decisions were made despite a little bit of perseverance needed here and there. I hope the rest of today’s meetings go as favourably as this one.
After the meeting
Intern: Time to tackle the pages of minutes and get them typed up for everyone’s reference- spelling anyone’s name wrong would be a sure fire way of getting myself in the bad books so I’ll be double and triple checking. Despite a little nerve-wracking at times I feel like a really learnt a lot.
CEO: Now onto the next meeting…