I don't have time to prepare

Everyone knows that good preparation makes for a good meeting, and yet so few people put the time aside to do it.

The key is to get everyone to think about the subject beforehand. This means properly challenging the purpose of the meeting, the agenda, who is supposed to be there, and what information needs to be circulated as pre-reading a few days before.

When you set up a meeting in our Magic Minutes software, you create the agenda. For each item on the agenda you have to indicate how long you are expecting to take discussing this point, and who (if anyone) is responsible for submitting a report before.

When that person submits their report, they have the option of highlighting key sentences or paragraphs within it which they feel need to be discussed at more length in the meeting. The point is – we can all read. If an agenda item is about sharing news then share it in advance – don’t let meeting participants save it up to have their ‘big reveal’. Save the precious meeting time for the stuff that needs discussion and decisions made on, things that will lead to action.

So think carefully about what’s on the agenda, who is preparing for it and how much of the meeting you can devote to them. Then coach them to deliver their agenda item so the meeting gets a good outcome. Without this sort of preparation, you will spend a lot longer getting nowhere – and then you won’t have time to prepare for tomorrow.