Sue Owen-Bailey - Assistant communications manager

Sue looks after the corporate and social responsibility at The Nottingham managing charity partnerships as well as the society’s donations and volunteering.

I have worked at The Nottingham for almost 13 years in a variety of roles but pretty much all of them would cover meeting lots of people and managing partnerships. Representing The Nottingham and our brand is a key part of my role – I go out into the local community and tell people what we are all about and also, how we can work together. When you are going into work for the first time, you are essentially representing yourself whether that be an informal work chat, some formal work experience or even a job interview.

You have to be confident in what you are talking about however, there are lots of things to think about – where you are going, who you are meeting, what you will be discussing, how you will get there and even things like what are you wearing and anything you need to take. Preparation is key and I will normally allocate some time to researching who I am meeting, thinking about what the outcomes will be, anything I need to take or know about and timing of when I need to leave! It sounds obvious but there is nothing worse than running late or getting lost due to bad planning. More meetings are now taking place virtually so even if you aren’t even leaving the house, always ensure you have had a dry-run on the technology first and that you know usernames and access codes in advance.

Getting ready for your first experience of work is no different. It is worth visualising your meeting, interview, first day or work experience and thinking about everything you may need to do or know in advance. I always plan my journey when I make arrangements to ensure it is in my diary and I have allocated the right amount of time for travel.
It’s also worth thinking about your arrival – who do you need to ask for, where are you meeting? If it is an interview, the receptionist may be asked for their feedback so first impressions count.

I always ensure I have a notepad and pen (and a spare pen) too. That way, I can make notes as I go to remind myself on the meeting later on, and also, if there is anything I am not sure of, I write it down so I can follow it up later. It is also useful for making a note of anything agreed plus names and contact details for someone that may be a great asset to your network.

Lastly, think about what you are wearing – when I work with volunteers I always provide detailed information on what to wear or bring as believe it or not, even the most experienced adults can sometimes get this wrong! Always dress appropriately – and do your research or seek advice on what this is if you need to – be comfortable, and feel confident in your choice too. If you have a long way to walk, ditch the heels and if it is a business meeting, wear something tailored to instantly feel smart, even if it is over the telephone.

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