The following list suggests the multitude of considerations relevant to meetings. For a brief, informal meeting, only a handful of these items need to be addressed. For a meeting with major consequences for your organization, all or most may need your careful attention.

Before Your Meetings
Be sure you're clear on the stated goal.
Be sure all meeting participants are clear on the stated goal.
Establish a specific standard by which you will measure success or failure.
Determine what your personal goal is with the group as a whole and with each particular participant.
Reduce the number of people to only those necessary to accomplish the goal.
Assess your basic relationship to your meeting partner or partners: superior, peer or subordinate. Evaluate their likely personal interests and needs.
Reduce the number of issues and tasks to only those necessary to accomplish the goal.
Prepare more. Envision the meeting as you would like it to take place, and determine what must be done in the way of further specific preparation to make your desired vision a reality.
Establish a meeting environment and theater (including style, location, room size and seating) consistent with your goal.
Consult with any participants or others whose cooperation is necessary in order to meet the goal.
Establish a clear and appropriately detailed agenda, and circulate it and other written materials in advance.
Do your homework, and go at least one step beyond the expectations of your meeting partners.
Form a tentative judgment on all issues.
Count the votes for issues critical to you.
Be aware of the particular customs, rules and etiquette for the meeting.

From The Strategy of Meetings by George Kieffer. 1988 by WARNER BOOKS, INC. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

1. Elizabeth Church, "Fitness Tips." Globe and Mail, Management Briefs.

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