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You can help make the meeting effective for both yourself and others by coming prepared. Coming prepared means more than just arriving at the meeting, listening, and occasionally talking. I'll give you a brief checklist to help you be prepared for your meetings. First, use a meeting task list. If you've completed the Time Management Fundamentals course on lynda.com, you'll be familiar with using a task list for processed items. You can also create a list for each meeting that you participate in.
For instance, any time that you have a task or idea that you need to discuss in a group meeting, put that idea in a group task list, for example group: Project Managers Meeting. Create similar lists for all the groups and one-to-one meetings that you participate in regularly. When you come to the meeting bring that list, either via your laptop, a mobile device, or even a printed list.
This will help you be prepared with minimal review prior to the meeting. This will also save time for all participants, so that they don't need to wait while others gather their thoughts as to what they need to discuss. Each member can just open up their list and go. The second way to prepare is to bring any action items that you committed to complete in the previous meeting. Every meeting you're likely to have one or more things that you committed to others that you would complete.
Make sure you're prepared to report back to the group on your commitments. The third way to be prepared is to bring development materials if necessary. In most cases only the leader or development presenter will need to bring development materials. Occasionally the presenter will have emailed or handed out documents and asked people to bring these in advance for the development presentation. If that's the case, just make sure that you have all the materials that you need.
Next, you'll need to bring your personal calendar. Many times people will come to a meeting and find themselves unable to schedule things or commit to accomplishing things without being able to look at their calendar, so make sure that you have your calendar at hand. It's your time budget and it will let you know how much time you have available to make commitments. Finally, bring a gathering point for taking notes. A gathering point is a predetermined place where you put all the notes from your meeting.
Typically in a meeting setting it's going to be a notepad, or perhaps a method where you electronically send notes to yourself. Use this five-point checklist to arrive prepared for your meetings. With just a few minutes of preparation prior to the meeting, you can attend feeling confident that you'll be able to participate fully.
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