The great American statesmen and inventor, Ben Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing for failure”.
Success starts with “P”
Before organizing any meeting in your calendar, you should do as much preparation as possible for the meeting. It’s so easy to throw something in your calendar only to wake up that morning of the meeting and realize you have nothing prepared for that meeting.
Previously we addressed the importance of having a concrete agenda for every meeting, but preparing for a meeting goes far beyond having an agenda.
Meeting are a “show” of sorts
Just as actors in a theater production endlessly rehearse their lines, so too as the meeting organizer, you should rehearse how you expect a meeting to play out. Don’t be afraid to set the ground rules for the meeting up front with your audience. For example if your plan is to first give some crucial updates and only then take questions, let everyone know. This way they’ll give you their undivided attention without worrying about when you are going to call on them.
If you are having a discussion about a hot button topic and expect some resistance, plan your responses in your head so you aren’t caught off guard and are able to keep yourself calm and collected when responding.
If you are running through a presentation, make sure you are intimately familiar with it before and so it doesn’t appear like you are seeing it for the first time.
Create a meeting checklist
Put a meeting checklist into your calendar. Your checklist should include all the necessary components to creating a successful meeting. Are the right people invited? Is the room set-up ideal for your meeting? Do you have a specific agenda with itemized talking points? Did you rehearse your lines? Do you have an opening game to warm up the room?
Very few things in life are as demoralizing as sitting through a meeting led by someone who clearly hasn’t put in the effort towards making it a success. Stop wasting people’s times and taking up space in their calendars unnecessarily, and start preparing for meeting success!
Go ahead, pencil some time in your calendar labeled, “Meeting Preparation Time” and prepare yourself for success!