If you’re brainstorming ideas for the future, sharing customer stories, or agreeing on business strategies, effective meetings aren’t something that just happens. Effective meetings require planning, time and effort to ensure that everyone feels they have gained something from the experience.

Meeting preparation begins with understanding what the goal of the meeting is. What is the goal that the team needs to accomplish by the end the meeting? This is the «Why» that drives the meeting, and it’s what drives the decision-making process, discussion topics, and the outcomes. It is important to establish an objective and stick with it so participants remain focused throughout the meeting.

Asking clarifying questions before the meeting begins is a good idea. Ask questions to your team members so that they can prepare. If you wait until the meeting, you waste valuable time that could be better spent to complete other tasks.

Making an agenda is a key aspect of meeting preparation and it’s crucial to make it an open and transparent process to everyone. Agendas give the meeting structure and keeps it on the right track and ensures that nothing slips through the cracks or is ignored.

It’s also an excellent idea to assign someone to act how secure are my documents in the cloud as the note keeper and time keeper to ensure that the meeting starts and ends on time and that agenda items are discussed in the correct order. It’s helpful to designate a person to send out notes after the meeting so that all crucial information is recorded.