Plan, Prepare, Picture: How to be Ready for Your Meetings
21st May 2014
Assuming you have at least some warning that a meeting is going to take place, you really should do what you can to prepare thoroughly for it. Doing so not only makes your life easier, but your colleagues will thank you for it as well.
The only way you can over-prepare for a meeting is if doing so prevents you from achieving your other tasks; you really have nothing to fear from putting too much effort into being ready for a meeting. Begin with the view that this meeting is important to the business and to you (otherwise, it would not have been called and you would not have been invited) and you can carry out your preparations with a positive attitude that encourages productivity and thoroughness.
Before you begin your preparations ensure all the key details are confirmed. You need to know when and where you need to be, who else will be present, what the meeting is going to achieve and your role.
If it is taking place somewhere you haven’t been before then make sure you have clear directions, and allow plenty of time for your travel. Even if it is in the same building you need to factor in time to nip to the toilet or grab a coffee en route!
You should be given a clear and thorough agenda for the meeting – without this you will be unable to plan thoroughly. Once you have this you should do some background research and get together any information you have on the subject of the meeting. This might simply mean reading over emails or reports, but you might need to look up the latest figures or speak to contacts for the most recent updates.
You must take into account who will be at the meeting when doing your planning, as this will determine many things, such as the level of detail you will need to give, the way you present your information/play your part and so on.
For example, if it is an initial meeting with people new to a project then you will want to go over some basics and give clear information. But if it is one in a series of regular meetings with department heads you can be sure that they know the background and remember what was discussed last month so all you need to do is pick up where you left off.
Be clear about your role and the purpose of the meeting, and be sure that other participants are in the same position. If anything is unclear when the meeting is being arranged then address it ahead of time. As well as a clear agenda everyone should be aware of how the aims of the meeting will be met and what is likely to be the outcome.
Compile your own briefing notes and background documents well ahead of the meeting and have them all to hand. You do not need to take in every single thing of relevance – if you have done your research you should have a good grasp of the issues already in the back of your mind – but you can write down the key points that you need to address. Use bullet points and graphics to help you remember what you need to say without having to read from pages of script.
Date: 21st May 2014 | Category: Productivity