Top Ten Tips on How to Prepare for a Meeting


*updated 2012*

  1. Research the applicable regulations and policies. Do research on the people you are meeting with.
  2. Know the pecking order of the organization. It will help you make appropriate decisions if you have to go up the ladder as you advocate.
  3. Think clearly about what you need to achieve and develop an agenda. Prioritize your agenda items and be prepared to communicate them clearly and concisely.
  4. If it is appropriate, try and establish the agenda with the other party in advance of the meeting. One way to do this is write a letter a week or so before that outlines what you want to discuss at the meeting. There might have to be a negotiation about process and agenda items before you get to the content of the meeting.
  5. Be self aware. Think about how you respond to conflict. Know what your triggers are and think about what you might do if your buttons are pushed. Will you react? Or will you keep your eye on the prize?
  6. Express collaborative intent from the start. This can be done in the agenda letter, at the start of the meeting, or at strategic times throughout the meeting.
  7. Take notes. It helps to have a record of the meeting and it demonstrates to the other party that you take this discussion seriously.
  8. Take a witness and have them take notes. It is helpful to have support.  Your witness is less emotional about the meeting and will help you remember what occurred.
  9. Have a plan B. What will you do if you do not achieve your goal? Work to develop a stronger plan B.
  10. Either follow up with a thank-you letter that outlines what was discussed and what you have agreed to, or write a letter to launch further advocacy. In that letter outline what is the common ground and what sets you apart. Think about where to go next.
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