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March 24, 2021 13 min

Most people think of meetings as an event - the time we’re gathered together in a physical or virtual room. But meetings are actually a cycle that consists of three phases - before, during and after. Too often meetings are unproductive due to a lack of proper preparation by both the meeting leader and participants. Yet, by spending a few minutes designing a thoughtful agenda, developing appropriate prework, and communicating clearly with your meeting participants, you can transform the entire meeting experience. 

In this episode, I walk through what to do before a meeting to prepare yourself and your colleagues for a productive conversation.

The full episode guide includes my meeting agenda template, tips for writing a desired outcome, and how to design and communicate pre-work. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at  


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Read the related blog article: How to Prepare Yourself and Others For A Productive Meeting


Key Takeaways:

  • Preparing yourself and your meeting participants will help create a more productive meeting.
  • The most important element of any meeting is the desired outcome: what will the meeting achieve?
  • The more specific the desired outcome, the easier it will be to plan the agenda and facilitate the conversation to accomplish that goal.
  • Consider what people need to know, what they can think about, or what they can do prior to entering the meeting that will prepare people for a more productive and efficient conversation.
  • Pre-work can be reading or listening to an article, video or podcast, a document, voice or video message.
  • Pre-work can be reflecting on specific questions or generating ideas ahead of time.
  • Pre-work can be completing a worksheet, answering questions, contributing to a shared online document.
  • Sometimes you may need to produce a document, record a voice message or video presentation in order to share important information in the optimal format prior to the meeting.
  • When you assign prework, be sure to include
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