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How to Prepare for a Meeting: Steps #1 & 2

How to prepare for a meetingMeeting Preparation

Knowing how to prepare for a meeting is important for all employees and critical for any manager or leader. Knowing when not to have a meeting is equally important.

Step #1: Establish the goal

Have a clear and achievable goal for convening the meeting. The goal should be tied into the organization’s vision and mission. Organizations often lose this connection point between day-to-day activities (like meetings) and their larger objectives and purpose. When participants understand why they’re meeting and how the meeting will further the organization’s vision and mission, they will be more engaged and aligned. And you will have an easier time keeping them on track.

If there isn’t a clear and compelling goal, cancel the meeting. You don’t want to be the one responsible for wasting others’ time; they may not prepare properly for future meetings you lead.

Step #2: Select the type of meeting

How to prepare for a meeting

Once you have decided on the goal of the meeting, select the most effective type of meeting:

  • Decision-Making Meeting
  • Informational Meeting
  • Motivational Meeting
  • Creative Meeting

The type of meeting will dictate the questions you need to ask and the people who ought to be involved.

Decision Making Meetings:

  1. Who is the decider(s)? This should be declared either right as the meeting begins or (ideally) well in advance, in order to set the expectation with the group;
  2. Who needs to be involved in the decision?
  3. Who is affected by the problem?
  4. Who has important information? Oftentimes organizations don’t have all the expertise in-house and should be prepared to have experts provide support for these types of meetings.
  5. Who will be part of the implementation?
  6. Who can give an outsider’s perspective? In The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki explains how an outsider can help elevate decision-making by helping uproot faulty assumptions.

Informational Meetings

  1. Who will provide the information? Be sure to send out all the information in advance. Do not use the meeting as a place to force everyone to read a report together.
  2. Who will provide alternative perspectives?
  3. Who needs to hear the content?

Motivational Meetings

  1. Who is capable of providing a motivational message?
  2. Who needs to be engaged or involved in the change effort?
  3. Who will be affected?
  4. Who will be required to implement the change?

Creative Meetings

  1. Who will be involved in implementing the solution?
  2. What expertise would provide insight?
  3. What are the different types of cognitive diversity that would elevate the solution set?
  4. Who are potential resisters and why?

Once you have the goal and type of meeting, you can go about selecting the participants, which will be the subject of the next post in this series.

Related Posts

How to Prepare for a Meeting: Step #3

How to Prepare for a Meeting: Step #4

How to Prepare for a Meeting: Steps #5-7

How to Prepare for a Meeting: Step #8


About the Author

Gary Cohen is a highly-skilled Executive Coach, Leadership Author, Trainer, and International Keynote Speaker. His clients range from entrepreneurial CEOs of the nation’s fastest-growing companies to executives of global 100 companies. He differentiates himself from traditional (psycho/therapeutic) executive coaches by bringing a vast amount of business experience as a former Founder / President of one the Nation’s Fastest growing companies. He is the author of Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions (McGraw Hill). Gary B. Cohen Full Bio

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