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10 Questions to Ask Before You Lead a Meeting

I have attended many meetings that lacked purpose, ran overtime and even after considerable time together, it was unclear what we had actually achieved or agreed on. Sadly, many of these meetings were initiated and led by me!

I have crafted a series of questions that I work through prior to meeting, that I bring with me on my iPad to help guide the discussion. This exercise doesn’t take long to complete, and makes for a more fruitful time together.

  1. What is the purpose of meeting? What is the goal for your time together? How will you know if the meeting was a success? If this can’t be answered, the meeting shouldn’t happen.
  2. What would be helpful for them to read/watch/listen to before we meet? Giving people time to prepare will lead to better outcomes. The more time people have to prepare (and knowing in advance what is being asked of them), the more likely they are to make a considered and useful contribution.
  3. How will I begin the meeting? This might be restating the meeting’s purpose, but it could also involve revisiting what has happened since the last meeting, or checking in about how they are going.
  4. What are the key things I want to communicate, and how do I want to communicate it? It’s helpful to be clear about not only what you would like to say (including any particular points of emphasis), but also how you would like to say it. Tone matters just as much (if not more) than the words themselves.
  5. What questions do I have for them? Is there anything that you are unsure about that would benefit from clarification?
  6. What objections or questions might they have? Similar to the previous question, this is an opportunity to step into the shoes of the person (or people) you are meeting with, and anticipate any potential issues they may have.
  7. What supporting materials do I need to take with me? This could include reference material that wasn’t distributed earlier (see Question #2), or forms that could be signed, etc.
  8. What response will I ask for? Are you asking them to do something? This needs to be clear in your mind before you meet, and you may need to think about how you will ask.
  9. How can I be an encouragement to them? This might seem like a surplus question, but I want to be an encouragement to those I meet with, and it helps to be intentional by considering beforehand how this might be achieved. It’s also helpful to pray for this outcome.
  10. How will I follow up after the meeting? For example, will I send a thank you via email, or distribute minutes of the meeting or a set of action steps?

That’s my game plan. How do you prepare for the meetings that you lead?

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  1. Daniel Pentimone

    May 11, 2016 at 3:17 am

    Thanks, these are very useful questions. I am one of those who dislike any unnecessary meetings, since they are time sponges and normally much less useful than a short summary paper. I believe that coming up with a list of topics to discuss, and sending that out in advance, is a very helpful way to prepare and gives everyone some idea of how much time can be spent on one topic.

  2. Madelyn Commodore

    May 11, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you! I agree. These are very useful questions. I will consider using them because it will help to eliminate wasting time, and frivolous talk, that misdirects the attention away from the idea or plan being discussed. The order in which the steps are written helps to create a structure that generally guides everyone towards a successful outcome so that every person attending the meeting has a clear understanding of the mission and goal. Thank you Pastor H.B. Charles Jr. I appreciate you.

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