5 Things to Do Before the Meeting Begins

Meeting Happening

We have all shown up to that meeting.

The one with no purpose. The one with no advance notice or details. And the one where no one could even find where the meeting was being held.

It ends up being a waste of everyone’s time.

To ensure your meeting is a success, you need to prepare in advance.

Be Ready Before Your Meeting

What you and your team get out of a meeting depends on what you put into the meeting in preparation.

“It’s not a meeting if you don’t prepare in advance.” (Tweet this Quote)

To prevent a wasted meeting, you need to be ready for your meeting before it begins.

Here are 5 Things To Do Before the Meeting Begins:

  1. Send Invites in Advance – Meetings should not be last-minute affairs. No one likes to get a same day meeting invite. For a formal meeting, the invites should go at least 2–3 days ahead of time.
  2. Distribute an Agenda – A meeting without an agenda is just a free-for-all. Make an agenda and distribute it to the attendees so they can be prepared to discuss the topics.
  3. Provide Review Materials – If there are advance materials that need to be reviewed, make sure to provide them early enough that attendees can actually read them. Otherwise, your meeting will become a “reading session.” This is not a productive use of anyone’s time.
  4. Reserve Meeting Space – We have all had the experience of trying to go to a meeting only to discover at the last moment that there is no meeting location attached to the invite. Make sure that you reserve adequate meeting space that suits the number of attendees and work to be accomplished.
  5. Set Meeting Expectations – Perhaps, the most important thing you can do before the meeting is to set the expectation of, “What is the goal of the meeting?” People like to know in advance why they are attending. It sets the meeting with a purpose. Be descriptive with your meeting topic. “Catch-up” is not a good meeting subject. “Briefing on the status of Project XYZ” is much better and will lead to a more purposeful meeting.

It’s Not a Meeting If You Don’t Prepare in Advance

Most meetings are a failure before they even begin.

In many companies, meetings are so dysfunctional that they represent the single biggest time-waster in the workplace.

Prepare for your meetings in advance, and they will be a more effective use of everyone’s time.

Question: What do you do before your meetings to ensure success? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

4 thoughts on “5 Things to Do Before the Meeting Begins

  1. Unfortunately, point 3 doesn’t mean everybody has read the material you provided. This makes you are still at risk of having a “reading session”. I find it helpful to check in advance if the key profiles in your meeting have time to read the material and to set the meeting date according their time available.

  2. Hey Craig,

    I have to agree that meetings can be a great waste of time along with “working on email.” I think the lack of substance with meetings stems from the fact that training on meetings is never given because people just assume meetings should be called for this or that.

    Do you think it could help if people being brought into positions where they have the power to call meetings were properly trained about effective meetings?

  3. Great read! Here’s a blog that I’ve put together about 5 things that need to be done to excel at a meeting. Read it here: bit.ly/before-meeting

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