3 things to do when you’re unprepared for a meeting

“There is no real excuse today for not knowing the people with whom you are meeting. Whether it’s a one on one or a conference table of 10.”

Whether a last-minute meeting pops up halfway through the day, or you simply forgot about one until two minutes before it’s scheduled to start, being unprepared for one can be a startling feeling.

Here are three tips to use when you find yourself in this situation.

Think about these three questions ahead of time

After writing about being “caught unprepared in a meeting” with the vice president of her company — and then, how she got back on her feet at the moment with a manager’s help — career coach and writer Abby Wolfe writes about these questions in The Muse.

She explains why you should pose these specific questions to yourself before every work meeting:

1) What’s my role?

2) What do I need to bring?

3) What do I want to get out of it?

Boiling things down to these three topics can help you get ahead.

Figure out who you’re meeting with

Author Kevin Daum writes in Inc. that you should “research the attendees” in an article about how “productive people prepare for meetings.”

“There is no real excuse today for not knowing the people with whom you are meeting. Whether it’s a one on one or a conference table of 10, you should have some idea of who is at the table. Get a list of attendees and Google each one. Check out their Linkedin profile and perhaps even look at them on Facebook to understand who they are and what they bring to the conversation. The time spent up front will not only save time on introductions, but it will give you powerful insights should conflict occur,” he writes.

Do this if you weren’t paying attention in the meeting

This can be really embarrassing, but luckily, there are ways to save face.

Doing things like preparing for what could happen during the meeting as much as possible, politely saying that you don’t have anything else to add (if you don’t), and talking about what you do know can really come in handy.

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.