Meetings are an inevitable part of the modern work-life. During the pandemic, the phrase "Zoom meetings" became synonymous with our daily workplace interaction.
While meetings are vital, only a few of us set them up well to ensure that we get the most out of them. So let's take a few minutes to go through some of the best practices that can help you prepare well for meetings.
Preparing for a meeting
Set purposes and goals
Start by understanding what the meeting is for, and if you are part of the organizing team, make sure that you write the purpose and goal of the meeting.
Making it explicit will help clarify these points and push you to reconsider items that don't seem valid.
Create and share the agenda
Once you have your goals and purposes, it will be easy to set the agenda for how the meeting needs to go.
The agenda should include what needs to happen during the meeting and how the participants are expected to behave and contribute.
Collect questions and ideas from stakeholders
While not everyone can attend a meeting, it doesn't mean that their voices should have representation in it.
So if you are attending a meeting on behalf of a team or contingent, you must collect ideas and questions to bring them up in the meeting at your discretion.
Know the type of meeting you are attending
With the agenda and goals set, knowing the type of meeting you are attending is essential.
Are you attending a pitch? An evaluation? Brainstorming session? Etc.
Knowing the type of meeting will help you determine your role in the meeting and expect what a successful meeting should be.
Identify potential obstacles
While you are diving into the type of meeting and your goals, you should also consider the possible obstacles that can come your way.
For example, when attending a pitch meeting, the common obstacle could be ROI justification.
If you are attending a brainstorming session, the obstacle could be going off track. Understanding these obstacles will help you come up with solutions for them.
Plan windows of interaction
It is essential to keep a meeting interactive, and sometimes, the opportunity for interaction should be built into the meeting structure.
For example, if you are presenting slides, add a window for questions or interactions between sub-topics.
This will help clarify and clear apprehensions and doubts of participants promptly.
Assign roles to attendees
Meetings have participants, and anytime people are involved, there needs to be a regulating force to ensure that the goals are met.
The regulating force often can be participants themselves, taking on different roles you can assign them.
For example, you can ask someone to be the timekeeper, minutes writer, facilitator, etc.
Prepare the opening 2 minutes
The opening of meetings is possibly the most important since that is when you set the agenda and the tone for the entire meeting.
So prepare the opening 2 minutes with goals like mentioning the agenda of the meeting, assigning responsibilities to the participants, explaining the scope of the meeting, etc.
Determine desirable outcomes
It isn't easy to structure and conduct an effective meeting without knowing what outcomes you want.
So ensure that you and the other participant know what they need to get out of this meeting.
Set benchmarks and expectations and communicate them to the participants as soon as possible.
Communicate the follow-up plan
When you are close to ending the meeting, share with the participants the next possible action steps on what was discussed in the meeting.
Follow-up makes people feel that they have contributed to something meaningful and would feel more motivated to continue contributing in the future.
All said, meetings could be a handy tool in workplace communication. The steps/best practices shared above could provide a clear framework for preparing for a meeting.
Some of the best practices might not apply to certain meetings, and that's ok. The goal is to know what to do when you encounter a situation that requires a best practice solution.
Did we miss anything? Let us know on Twitter at @RoutineHQ. Thanks for reading.