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Ivan Popov

i was once an athlete. then a journalist. now i am a ceo of an iT company. still running marathons though.

Meetings Done Right – How Should One Prepare for the Much Awaited (Or Not So Much) Business Convos

participating in a meeting

Whether your job requires you to be in the office, fully remote or going along with the hybrid model, meetings are something you definitely stumble upon in your day-to-day. I know, I know – while some of you may find those gatherings quite exciting and insightful, others may consider them as tedious and a complete waste of time.

However, regardless of how you essentially feel about meetings, chances are they will continue to be a huge part of your professional schedule, especially in today’s business climate when luckily communication has risen as a rather important aspect of successful professional relationships. So I’ve always tried to nurture the following mindset – instead of fighting against something you don’t like (while it is a necessity), try to change your perspectives. By finding how you can become better at it and gain value out of it, you’re halfway there when it comes to reaching new potential milestones and benefits.

That being said, let’s discuss the nature of meetings – why (and when) are they indeed necessary and how should one prepare for them both as an organizer and as an attendee. 

Let’s get going!

“Let’s Book a Meeting!” Doesn’t Need to Get You on the Edge of Your Seat

Meetings could be conducted both ways – sometimes leaders decide it’s time for a professional discussion; other times it’s the employees who feel the need to explore certain topics and raise questions. Regardless of the reason, oftentimes people find themselves with detrimental opinions and views on meetings – some of them see them as a strict rule that should not be missed while others believe that a huge portion of online calls and professional discussions could be quickly resolved through a couple of emails.

Do you want to hear my opinion? I agree with both sides of this never-ending battle.

When a Meeting Is Indeed Needed?

Of course, there are instances when meetings are absolutely crucial when it comes to coming up with outstanding strategies, good problem-solving and impeccable planning. Whether it’s a live discussion or an online event, a meeting is preferred when:

  • The leader has important announcements to make – usually numerous additional topics and questions come up so it’s important to grant your employees the opportunity, time and space for open discussions;
  • When a topic should indeed be discussed – numerous times I’ve talked about the importance of hearing different points of view, opinions and suggestions. Brainstorming is a beautiful approach when it comes to gathering people’s experiences and coming up with useful strategies and further planning. 
  • When requests or changes of any kind are about to be implemented – regardless of whether those changes or requests come from the leader or the employees, usually proper discussions and honest conversations come in handy. This way no room for misunderstandings is left and everybody can address any given issue loud and clear. 
  • Meetings are essential when a task or a project requires a more detailed approach in terms of information and clarity – let’s not forget that the key to great and successful work lies in communication. 

When a Meeting Could Be Omitted?

The rule here (or at least my rule, that is) is this: A priority should be not wasting anyone’s precious time. That said, if something indeed transcribes in a sentence or two, a simple email or DM would do the work. Don’t forget that both leaders and employees tend to view meetings as tedious mainly because sometimes they are completely worthless – people leave with the impression that their time has been completely wasted. 

A quick disclaimer though – the phenomenon of worthless meetings surprisingly has its roots in finding it hard to lose control. Unconsciously many leaders assume that conducting frequent meetings helps them better manage and monitor their employees’ performances through regular feedback. Although there’s a certain piece of truth in this, my advice is to be careful not to cross the line between excessive (and oftentimes unneeded) micromanagement and helpful and considerate support.

How To Prepare for Meetings the Right Way

If you’re a leader who’s about to schedule a meeting…

  • Have a theme or topic in mind – this adds value to the conversation and helps people better acknowledge its importance. This way they’ll pay extra attention and will even be able to adequately prepare for the subject in question.
  • Try to be as structured as possible – if necessary, opt for a plan when you can outline all the important things you need to say or highlight. This added sense of structure will certainly be quite useful for all attendees as it will give them the chance to write notes and logically follow the presentation’s flow.
  • Use examples if applicable – meetings are perfect for visuals and infographics that best showcase your initial intent and goals. Examples of the expected results will certainly help your team a lot.
  • Have a clear meeting goal – ask yourself what’s your agenda beforehand. This will help you come up with the best way to reach it, as well as delegate and distribute the tasks.
  • Of course, leave room for discussions and be open to all kinds of shared experiences, opinions and expertise – there’s nothing worse than a boss who is oblivious to what their team has or wants to tell them. Don’t be that person; instead, be collaborative and always leave room for mutual conversations – essentially, that’s what teamwork is all about.

What About the Times When an Employee Requests a Meeting?

  • First of all – bravo. We all need to bust the myth that leaders, managers and bosses are the only ones able to conduct a meeting or request a conversation. Employees, by all means, have every right to do so – if you’re a leader and a team member requests a conversation with you, you should be happy – this means you’ve gained their trust and they see in you someone who would listen and be attentive to any topic.
  • Make up your mind beforehand and be clear and punctual in what you have to say – avoid mumbling and scattering your thoughts all over the place. Once you enter the meeting, make sure you’re able to briefly summarize your concern, wish or suggestion – this is a tell-tale sign that you’re confident enough and well aware of your needs.
  • Don’t be afraid to disagree – this includes sharing your honest points of view and opinions and sticking to them if they are true to you and define who you are as a person, even if that means disagreeing and sticking to your personal truth and expertise. Yes, it indeed can be challenging but the price to pay is your authenticity – at the end of the day, that’s the most important asset you have. 

Yes, More Often Than Not, Meetings Result in Excellent Conversations and Successful Outcomes

I’d like to finish today’s article with the following: Communication is truly what makes a successful business. Without it, even the best experts regardless of the niche would fall victim to misunderstandings and failure to execute even the most prominent of plans and projects.

Essentially, meetings, whether live or online, serve as a great tool for just that – with the proper agenda and communications approach, anyone could take the best out of any discussion and come up with splendid ideas and strategies as a result. And while prioritizing is a must when it comes to meetings, it doesn’t hurt to engage in a quick convo from time to time – after all, it’s the glue that helps a team stick together. 


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