How To Chair A Meeting And Other Things They Didn’t Teach Me At Uni

Summer break is here which means graduates in Sydney are fixing up their resumes and kicking on with work experience to score that full-time gig (or maybe taking a gap year, because – hey, you got your whole life to work, work, work)

At this end of this year I would have completed my fourth year in full time work.  That equates to:


  • 2,083 cups of coffee
  • so much avocado on toast that I can’t even afford to buy a house
  • and more post it notes than you can poke a stick at

Yeah – I guess you could call me a yuppie.

There isn’t anything that could have closed the gap faster between my grade point average and falling into the big black hole of a new career in the corporate world, other than the five things I’m about to tell you.

1# Hunt down the org chart

It’s a family tree for the corporate world – you’re adopted in, welcome.

Nothing screams more corporate than long winded titles and layers of management. Before you learn the office dynamics, you’ll need to know who everyone is, what they do and who they report to.

Do your homework to avoid pulling faces in those Monday morning meetings.

who are you

2# Nail your intro

First impressions matter.

In any organisation, introductions are key to establishing your presence.  Have a couple of words up your sleeve just in case someone asks.

If you’re meeting with someone more senior than you, position your ‘administration’ or ‘assistant title’ as a behind the scenes or enabler role.  I’m guessing you’re keen to progress so whoever you’re talking to will connect the dots pretty quickly.

Connect the dots

3# Keep it to corridor conversations

I didn’t make this up.  It’s the type of conversation you have on the run – unexpected and unrehearsed – but 100% remembered.

So, if you’re caught in a corridor with one of those lucky people who spend their whole day in meetings – jackpot you’ve got their attention (momentarily).

These conversations may be fleeting – so even a smile and a quick hello is better than nothing.


4# You work with people

Remember those group assignments you loathed at university?  Well you tend to do a lot more in the real world.  Working well with people (not your distinction average) will be the bread and butter of your success, so pay attention to how you interact with your colleagues.

In group situations, listening and acknowledging everyone’s opinion is a step in the right direction.  Although money, fame and fortune may be motivating factors, in the end – people motivate people.


5# How to chair a meeting

This article would be a scam if I didn’t tell you how to chair a meeting.  Preparation is key, so send out an agenda a few days in advance.


Once it’s meeting time showtime the standard running order goes something like this:

  1. Kick off with a quick introduction – who you are and what you do
  2. Briefly outline your agenda or objective
  3. Run through any presentations if you need to
  4. Wrap up with some time for discussion or Q&A
  5. Close the meeting by outlining any follow up action items and next steps

It may seem like a baptism of fire at first, but you’ll cherish your baby steps in the years to come.

Since you don’t build up your credibility overnight, small opportunities matter.  We all have to start somewhere – even if it’s doing the humble coffee run.