The Business Meeting

5 Nov

Business schools often romanticize the formality of meetings.  Throughout my time at the Olin Business School, I prepared and presented numerous formal presentations to a panel of judges as part of the curriculum.  This type of assignment is given to most of the undergraduate business students across the country. These assignments are usually designed to reflect the business world, where the students are presenting information to either a client or a superior.  In these situations, the students are told to take these presentations seriously as ‘that is how they will be like in real-life.’  I find this to be somewhat untrue. Many situations require a great deal of formality, but I contend that most business interactions or meetings are much less formal than otherwise taught in business school.

Most meetings begin with a brief session where casualties are exchanged and personal connections are created.  Throughout the meeting, colleges exchange light humor or personal anecdotes, which can make the entire meeting more memorable and impactful.  Meetings are a great place to build a personal relationship with your client, which is extremely valuable in the business world.  Furthermore, a great deal of networking occurs during meetings, which can vastly increase your business network and open new opportunities for both you and your company.

by Daniel Levine


4 Responses to “The Business Meeting”

  1. Jake Lazarus November 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    I definitely feel like there is often a difference between business meetings and formal presentations like Daniel explained. They are different situations that serve different purposes. Those formal presentations are usually what we do in school, in terms of speaking in front of a panel of judges. The other kind of business meetings are what I feel like the Management Communications Lab and Weston Career Center are for. Both must be practiced before you actually involved in real ones. However, it doesn’t seem like the kind Daniel is talking about-the business meetings-are stressed enough in class. While it is not necessary to practice them, it should be made known their importance.

  2. Timothy Wang November 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Daniel-great post!

    I think you touched on an important observation between “real-world” business meetings and the more formal presentations we prepare for as undergrads. Usually, I think the industry you are in really determines what level of formality business is conducted at.
    For example, if you were working for a tech company in the Silicon Valley your business dealings may seem more informal compared to an investment bank’s on Wall St.

    However, you bring up a good point in discussing the variety of meetings we may deal with when we enter the real world! And it is something we can all consider as we search for jobs in the coming years.

  3. Gregory Porter November 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    I think this post brings up a great point. For instance, as an analyst on Wall Street, one may have one opportunity to present/sit-in during/on a meeting with a CEO or VP, and the way the Analyst carries himself/herself can go a long way when promotions or other decisions about employees are being determined. One must also remember that even outside of meetings, such as causal interactions with co-workers or classmates, the things you have brought up are also very true as we are always being “watched” and “judged” by our colleges.


  4. Adam Solomon November 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    I agree with you. Although my experience comes mostly from internships, I have encountered that casually exchanging information with colleagues via text and short emails occurs much more often than formal memos and presentations.

    At the same time, I understand the purpose of learning how to craft memos and formally present. There is a time and place for everything and we will probably one day use these more formal methods of communication.


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