Years ago a wise engineer gave me these rules for meetings:
- Never go into a meeting unless you know what the outcome will be.
- Plan to leave the meeting with less work than when you went in.
Stick to those rules, and you’ll do well.
OK, so maybe the second rule’s not so serious, but the first one has a grain of truth. You don’t need to know exactly what the decision should be, but you should be clear about what you want to get decided. If it’s particularly important, you should have already discussed it with the key attendees, and you should know what they’re thinking. You don’t want any surprises.
Too many meetings have no clear purpose, or they can only agree that ‘a decision needs to be made…pending further research.’ Avoid those sorts of meetings. Otherwise it ends up like…well….Every Meeting Ever: