The best meetings I have in business, are those where people have prepared ahead of the time. This is especially true for important regular meetings such as planning and review meetings. The value of good preparation is that it yields new, relevant information, helps you articulate your ideas, and ultimately provides better company outcomes.
Good preparation may be a discipline difficult to learn and consistently apply. However, look around, it is most commonly observed in a company’s top performers.
Consider business planning preparation, business planning meetings usually present an opportunity for expressing your ideas and plans. Your ideas and plans will be much more potent if the underlying rationale that you developed is available, if required, for the meeting. The rationale itself is built on the facts that you have gathered and analysed.
The simple steps of good meeting preparation are:
- always allocate preparation time in your diary
- work within a relevant, objective framework (e.g. see our App as an objective aide–mémoire)
- gather factual data
- engage with others to establish a common understanding
- develop and test your ideas with ‘safe’ colleagues, and acknowledge their contribution
- pre-meeting, envisage the meeting playing out and your desired role
- post-meeting, review outcomes and note down any personal improvements in how you will prepare next time.
Practice is the means to learn the discipline of good preparation, and with some people who I have worked with, as their mastery grows, so has their self-confidence and reputation.
What do you see as the important elements of good preparation?