Making time to prepare for successful meetings

18th March 2008

Making time to prepare for meetings is time well spent. A common cause of ineffective meetings is that no one has thought through the preparation, so time is wasted in the meeting sorting out things that could have been done in advance. Taking a day to prepare for a one day meeting with 12 participants means that you will get effective use of 12 man days of time for an investment of one day, I think this is a good ROI!

Things that you can do to usefully prepare for a meeting fall into two categories, process and content:

PROCESS:
* Clarify the outcomes required from the meeting
* Contact meeting participants to understand their expectations and issues.
* Design an effective agenda to achieve the outcomes
* Clarify the roles required in the meeting
* Think about the kind of ground rules that might prevent potential problems in the meeting
* Prepare materials to support the process e.g. templates and session briefs to support group working.

CONTENT:
* Prepare any information you need to share in the meeting.
* What is the best format for sharing information? Could it go as pre-work? Does it have to be powerpoint or would some other method provoke a better conversation?
* Don’t share unecessary context in presentations.
* Make sure the content is clear and concise.