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How Prepared Are Your for Your Meetings?

When you step into a meeting, are you prepared? At the end of the meeting, do you tell yourself, “This went as planned.”

No one knows if a meeting will go as planned. As a matter of fact, no one goes anywhere or does anything knowing that it will go as planned. We all may expect something will go as planned, but even then we are unsure of what may happen.

When stepping into a meeting, do the following:

  1. Be you. Play your part and nothing more. This does not mean if you see someone needing medical attention, look at them suffer and wait for someone else to handle the situation. This only means do what you know how to do and never set yourself up by placing yourself in a situation you know nothing about. So, if you know how to call 911, call 911.
  2. Accept the fact that nothing goes as planned. Even if we think it does. There is always something that was left out or caused us to carry over. It’s better to have a productive meeting that carried over than to have a drawn out meeting where nothing was accomplished.
  3. Remind yourself that you are not a failure if things don’t go as planned. Everything happens for a reason. We don’t have to know the reason, just know that there is one.
  4. Things are supposed to be the way they are and all the planning in the world cannot stop the most disastrous things from happening. Planning can help prevent the issues we are aware of, but it can only prepare us for the unknown. It also gives us an opportunity to document the moment to see what went wrong and allows us to prepare for this same issue in future meetings.
  5. Be ready to pick yourself back up when things aren’t going as planned.

You are the leader. You have things to do. Make sure you are in line. Make sure you have what it takes to be the leader of this meeting and that you are organized.

To lead a meeting, you have to be able to do the following:

  1. Listen……actively. This means allowing attendees to respond to what you say and allow them to express their thoughts.
  2. Maintain control. There is a time a place for side conversation, but there is also a time when the agenda must be followed and responses can be made without getting off subject. This doesn’t mean that examples can’t be made by attendees or the lead, but this should be maintained.
  3. Don’t judge in the input of your attendees. Allow everyone to be heard.
  4. Be able to adapt to the personalities, the differences, and the similarities.

As much as I like to go against the rules for creativity purposes, when it comes to meetings, this is not and cannot be the case. Occasionally I experiment with my kids. The reason I use my kids is because they are all different ages, have different personalities, have different learning styles, and all have different levels of knowledge due to their age. I first tried a “no rule” meeting and it was a complete disaster. I tried a “rule” meeting and it went smoother than the “no rule” meeting.

Kids or adults, meetings still need rules. Here are some similarities that leaders may not view as similarities.

No Rule Meeting (Adults)

What makes these situations similar in a “no rule” situation

No Rule Meeting (Kids)



Over talking one another

Getting off subject by presenting examples that turn into personal experiences

Wasting time

Talking too much and making fun of the situation

Attendees missing the point because there is no organization and want to leave the meeting.

No structure

Kids running around because they have no reason to sit and listen. There is no plan.

What makes these situations similar in a “rule” situation

Rule Meeting (Adults)

Rule Meeting (Kids)


Everyone understands that there should be a discussion and not an argument in the light of disagreement

Children learn that there is a time to speak and a time to listen when they are aware that everyone has a chance

Decisions/Time Management

The meeting moves along smoothly and allows for questions and deeper discussions at the end of the meeting

The meeting goes smoothly when the children are allowed to ask questions about and discuss the information given


Attendees know the purpose of the meeting and understand that they are meaningful to the meeting as well

When children know what’s going on and understand that they are also meaningful to the meeting, they enjoy it

Rules for successful meetings and presentations:

  1. Keep control of the “talking” situation. Make sure you allow time for attendees to respond to what has been said or ask a quick question for clarification. If no questions are to be asked throughout the meeting, make that clear at the start of the meeting or presentation. For example, ask that the attendees write their questions down and save them for the end of the meeting or presentation.
  2. Don’t allow interruptions and don’t interrupt someone in the middle of responding to something said. We tend to interrupt one another when we disagree with or are trying to correct someone. It is best to hear people out before rudely interrupting or announcing disagreements or beliefs.
  3. Give your attendees the attention you would want when speaking.
  4. Stick to your meeting plan or agenda. This keeps everyone on track, proves your ability to manage time, and makes everyone feel better when the meeting lasts for the time stated in the beginning.
  5. I always say that no idea is a bad idea if it hasn’t been looked into or tried. Don’t give off bad vibes by using negative body language when someone else is speaking. No one has the right to make an attendee feel uncomfortable. Respect what other people have to say. You are all in the same meeting, you were all chosen to be here, and everyone plays an important role in the meeting, even if you or others may not agree.
  6. If you disagree with someone, be polite about it and wait until it’s your turn to announce those disagreements and/or views.
  7. Remember that your or anyone else’s opinions are not facts. If you choose to present facts, have reliable resources noted to back up what you say.
  8. Make sure contributions are kept at to a minimum. Remember time management. Also remember how important the participation of every attendee is to the meeting.
  9. Do not single out attendees with unwelcome or negative body language that shows and/or proves you are singling them out. Do not single out attendees at all.

We prepare meetings to get the information to those attending in a time frame we sometimes can’t imagine. The information we give has a level of depth, which doesn’t allow us to fully explain some things. We need to give our attendees enough information to take them to the next step of asking questions and research the subject(s) further. Giving the right information leads to spreading information and builds your reputation for holding great and informative meetings. So ask yourself this, “Am I prepared for this meeting?” before you tell yourself, “This went as planned.”


Newton, P. (2014). How to chair a meeting, 1st Ed. Retrieved from