How to Prepare for a Meeting on the Go

If you travel a lot, or you have a long commute to and from work, chances are that you have a lot of time to think on the go and that your free time at home is limited. That used to be a problem for people who need to prepare for important meetings.

However, thanks to the modern technology and the ever-improving internet connections, there are numerous productivity options for the people on the go, like, a personal assistant integrated into the app most of us use on a daily basis – Facebook Messenger. Simply send notes to yourself as ideas come to your mind, and you can sort them out later on when you return home.

Determine the Purpose of the Meeting

The first thing you need to have clear is the purpose of the meeting. Different goals require different meeting types and you need to be clear right from the start what you want to achieve with this meeting. It will also help you figure out what resources you will need and the duration of the meeting itself.

The purpose of the meeting can also determine how the decisions will be made. If you have an important decision to make at the meeting, you can choose a majority vote system, where everybody gets a vote in the matter, or wait until the group has debated the issue and reached a consensus. Finally, you can opt to leave the decision making to the boss or the manager.

Figure Out the Time and Place of the Meeting

If your company has a dedicated meeting space, make sure that it is available at the time you wanted to have the meeting. Similarly, you will need to make sure that the time of the meeting doesn’t clash with any other meeting or other obligation you or other participants in the meeting have.

Decide about the Participants

A successful meeting should only include people who are integral to the completion of the goal of the task. There is no need to gather the whole office if only a few people need to be in the loop. What’s more, the chance of being interrupted by superfluous questions and unnecessary tangents increases with the number of people attending the meeting. Naturally, you will need to inform the prospective participants about the meeting well in advance. It would be ideal to inform them in person, but if it is not possible, a memo is equally effective if less personal.

You do, however, need a few key people at your meeting. First of all, you need a presenter, someone who will start and steer the issue forward and in the right direction. More likely than not, that will be you. If you are not a part of the higher management with the ability to decide in the name of the company, you will likely need a person who has that authority, whether it is your boss or some higher up manager.

Another person who is very good to have a professional meeting is a scribe, someone who will be able to write down the key ideas and conclusions of the meeting without going into too much detail. It will be useful later on if you need to brief someone about your meeting.

If you are dealing with a topic you are not necessarily an expert in, bringing in someone who can provide details and special knowledge to the table is a valuable member of the team. Finally, you will need someone who can come up with a fresh perspective and ask all the right questions.

Prepare Your Own Notes

A lot of people who need to give a presentation rely on a computer and create a presentation using one of the many available presentation programs. However, don’t let that list of slides be the star of the show. Technology can fail you, especially if your company uses hardware and software that is a bit outdated.

Instead, make sure that you have at least the majority of what you want to say safely stored in your head. Sure, computer presentations can help, provide great graphics examples, but they can’t tell the full story. That’s where your oratory skills come in. Make sure to have at least two possible scenarios in your head and a proper response to either one of them.

Create a brief handout outlining the key points you want to cover and distribute it to every participant in the meeting. They can use it for additional information, for clarity, and even to write down any questions they may have and want to ask you. Your handout should be a bit more detailed, as you will likely have a lot of material to cover.

Holding a meeting is often a lot of pressure, and it can be even worse when you can’t prepare properly. Fortunately, with modern technologies, any place you are can become a brainstorming area.