“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” — Benjamin Franklin
In modern companies, meetings are one of the main ways you work, communicate, and make progress. This is especially true for technology companies and white-collar work. Meetings can be very painful to people because they may be thought of as a waste of time, with no clear agendas, and too long, among other things.
First of all, you should definitely work to get out of meetings that are a complete waste of time. If all parties are not receiving value, then it is a waste of time. But for all your meetings, you should try to prepare for the meeting. Depending on how important the meeting is, you may want to prepare days ahead of it, in the morning, or right before the meeting.
The important thing is to prepare and figure out what is it you want to get out of the meeting. Try to write down the goals of the meeting, what are the main points you want to convey, and what are the main things you want the participants to know. This way when you go into the meeting, you will have a stronger presence and have clear and coherent thoughts. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of preparation, it will create value. Without doing this kind of planning, it is a missed opportunity to move the team forward on whatever your agenda is. If you can’t figure out how to prepare for the meeting or what questions to ask, ask this question: “What would make this meeting a success for myself and for the other participants?”. Just by asking that question, you will have a profound change in your meetings.
Try to do this with every meeting you have, and you will find that your meetings are more valuable for both yourself and the other participants.