How to prepare for a meeting in 60 seconds!

This week started with a client meeting to plan the rollout of some training over the next month or so. Arriving early, I reviewed my notes and then took the opportunity to catch up on a few articles I wanted to read.

Yet how can we prepare for a meeting when we don’t have the foresight, notice or luxury of time to prepare in advance? In 2000, John Mitchell wrote his excellent but now out of print book, ‘The Manager’s Toolbox‘. Among some great tools and tips, Mitchell shares a seven point plan on how to prepare for a meeting in 60 seconds.

1. Don’t panic – stay calm.
2. What problem is this meeting a solution to? What is the most important task of the meeting? Knowing this will help you focus your approach.
3. What actions did you have from the last meeting? Scan any papers for/about the meeting, find your actions and underline them.
4. What have you done? Mentally review progress on those actions. Highlight those still outstanding and ignore the ones you’ve completed.
5. What information do you need in the meeting? Gather all papers related to the action or that might be useful in the meeting. You can scan these discreetly in the meeting.
6. Who can help you? If you need information you don’t have to hand, ask a colleague to help. Tell them what you need and they can bring it to you; in the meeting if needs be.
7. Be honest. Don’t waste your time and credibility making excuses. Apologise and move on to plan corrective actions.

What would your approach be? Leave a comment and let me know.

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