Any leader would tell you that a meeting is a work of art. Making sure that you don’t waste time but cast great vision and seek appropriate feedback from your team is basic but not easy. A good meeting can be the best fuel for success and a bad meetings over time can stop your momentum.

As you continue on your leadership development, here are four things you need to add to your leadership philosophy to prepare for meetings and make sure they are as effective as possible:

1. Create a written agenda. 

No leader should ever go into a meeting without a game plan! This would be like a sports team not having a strategy to beat their opponent on a big rival game. Leaders who are prepared ahead of time with a written agenda show their team the importance of your time together. Meetings can be the biggest waste of time for any organization. Spend 10 minutes preparing for each meeting before hand. Overtime, your team will not only see the importance on not wasting time, they will begin to come to meetings prepared as well.

2. Set a time limit.

A good meeting is designed to delegate tasks, cast vision and move your team to action. Your goal is to run the meeting, not let the meeting run you and your schedule. Set a time limit, otherwise there will be endless discussion and no end in sight. A meeting that doesn’t have a time limit is a brainstorming session that is highly ineffective. No one wants to go to a meeting that drowns on and doesn’t have a clear ending. Be aware of your time and your team’s time.

3. Incorporate Mission & Vision.

In every meeting I run, I start with the question “How are we?”  This may seem like a weird way to start, but the most important thing at our company is people. I want to make sure every time we meet our team is reminded that people matter, relationships matter and if we don’t practice relationships internally how can we expect to care about people externally. Leaders need to constantly do and discuss things that point back to mission and vision. It’s critical to being successful and united long term. Plan for including mission and vision ahead of time.

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4. Prepare Key People. 

The last thing you need to do before going into a meeting is make sure the people who are going to share or be a part of your meeting are prepared. This simple task will help unify the group and prevent your team from feeling like their time is wasted. This would include asking key people to give updates, ask for feedback or train the team on specific tasks. Don’t allow someone to lead the meeting who has not prepared.

Keep at these essential meeting preparation techniques and you will find that you’re saving time, engaging in richer discussions and the overall success of your organization will increase. This isn’t just team leadership, it’s being smart about your time and being intentional about how you lead. It’s practicing disciplines that will add to the value of your team.

How do you prepare for your meetings?