9 Tips on How to Prepare for a Meeting

January 20, 2023

Meetings are an everyday occurrence for anyone and everyone. Some of us have a calendar full of back-to-backs. Others only need to clamor together in a room once or twice per day. Regardless, for those facilitating, we often have a checklist of things we need to do to be adequately prepared.

For facilitators and presenters alike, there are plenty of tasks that will require your attention. These can, of course, be difficult to track and keep in mind. For that very reason, we have put together this helpful (at least we think so) series of tips that will help you be as prepared as possible.

You know what they say: "Fail to prepare and prepare to fail". So be sure to take the time to properly get everything in order beforehand.

  • Create an agenda
  • Set a meeting time limit
  • Research your attendees 
  • Define your role in the meeting 
  • Prepare your slides, etc. 
  • Set up other tech 
  • Create a feedback survey
  • Prepare for follow-up actions 
  • Create a template for future meetings

Create a detailed agenda

Meeting agendas are a must-have if you want everybody to be as prepared as you will be. But what exactly are some must-have items on the agenda? 

  • Set a meeting time limit

While you plan consider how long you will need to go through all the relevant talking points. Try your best to stick to these time limits so you don’t go overtime and impact everyone’s schedule. Also, remind everyone to arrive on time so you can kick things off and wrap up as planned. 

  • Define the purpose of the meeting

Why are you having this meeting? Is there a purpose? If not, ask yourself if everyone’s time would be better spent elsewhere. Meetings take time out of people's days and cost money to run. 

Some good questions to ask: Could this meeting be an email or a message on Teams or Slack? What is the goal of this meeting?

The New York TImes’ Adam Bryant recommends auditing meetings every month or so. This is an incredibly simple, but effective idea!

  • Gather talking points

Once you define the purpose then draft up a plan and add it to the agenda. Be sure to include who will be presenting, how long they will be speaking, reading material, and any additional resources.

  • Create a calendar invite

This one goes without saying. You want everyone to be available and have it noted in their calendars and diaries. 

Once all of this is done, be sure to send your agenda out in advance of the meeting in a timely manner so everyone has time to prepare.

Define your role in the meeting 

Are you just booking the room and sending out the invites? Are you going to be facilitating the meeting? Or will you be leading the meeting and actively presenting? Who will be doing all of these things?

Each of these roles comes with differing responsibilities, some with more administrative duties than others. By defining what you will do, you can create goals and tasks for yourself and identify tasks and must-dos that can be delegated to others. Deciding who will take meeting notes is one crucial duty. 

Research your attendees 

This goes specifically for external meetings with clients or agencies. Researching fellow attendees can help you identify common interests or expertise to help you ease into the meeting and discussions. Likewise, it's a great way to find ways to break the ice. 

If meeting potential customers or clients then learning about their previous work experience from their LinkedIn page could help you generate examples and build a case they will be better able to understand and connect with. 

Prepare your slides

This goes without saying but, it’s always a good idea to create engaging and informative slides. The same goes for any other tools or resources - Miro board, Google Docs, etc. However you plan on communicating your message, you will want to have your tool or software of choice ready to go. 

Now if we look at slides specifically (something we care deeply about), you must spend time on these. If you are presenting then you want your tools to complement your presentation. Your slides should be clear and clutter-free but help you explain your points and enhance your discussion points.

Set up other tech 

Tech is crucial for the success of hybrid and remote or virtual meetings and less when discussing face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, and more need to be set up to make meetings remote and hybrid friendly.

Consider using a speaker and microphone combination that will make anyone online be clearly heard and understood. Please, avoid passing around a laptop so people joining online can properly hear what is being said!

Create a pre and post-meeting feedback survey

Here at Mentimeter, we obsess over feedback because we understand how incredibly useful it can be. 

Pre-meeting surveys can help you set expectations, adapt to what people may want to discuss, and highlight areas of concern or things they wish to raise. In other words, this is a great way to learn the lay of the land immediately as you walk into the room. 

Post-meeting surveys will help assess meeting performance, people’s views on how it went, what you did well as a facilitator or presenter, etc. This can be the perfect way to uncover areas that need tweaking for the next time around. 

Prepare for follow-up action items

The downfall of many meetings and the cause of a variety of frustrations is that when leaving a meeting things fall by the wayside, or plans and great ideas are never acted upon. 

A great way to avoid that is by preparing to avoid that eventuality. Obviously, the action items will come to the fore during the meeting itself, but you can create a structure to note them down.

So too can you create a final slide to note down summary points, who will do what immediately once you leave the room, and so on.

Create a template for future meetings

would recommend creating a template from a series of slides that have worked well for you in the past or that you feel very comfortable with. For example, if you have gathered feedback from others other than a particular presentation that went well then keep the good times rolling. 

Starting is always the toughest part but by creating a skeleton presentation you will have a consistent base from which you can jumpstart. This will cut down your workload in the future and is perfect for recurring meetings. 

Looking to run more effective meetings?

If you are looking for ways to engage team members, external guests, students, or more, then Mentimeter could be the perfect tool for you. See what we can do to help improve productivity, engagement levels, and interaction. 

Discover what Mentimeter can do for you!

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