a triathlon and preparing well for meetings

6495_125180907384_687067384_2717559_6758705_nlast weekend my brother quinn and my sister-in-law jenny participated in the spirit of racine triathlon.

jenny is a seasoned competitor and has competed in this race several times. she’s amazing and impressive and i wish i was like her.

but this was quinn’s first race – he’s a well trained athlete having played college baseball, but he’s never done something like this before so he prepared big time!

for months and months, quinn and jenny spent their evenings biking-sometimes even for 4 hours at a time, and they had spent weekends running miles and swimming endless laps – it was crazy. but they were focused and committed – and worked extremely hard preparing for this very big day.

and then yesterday, i was having lunch with a children’s director and we were discussing how to best prepare for meetings – we were chatting about how often we are tempted to not prepare for meetings – it always feels easier to not prepare and just hope for the best. but lack of preparation rarely results in a fantastic meeting – meetings need love and attention and careful preparation, kind of like preparing for a triathlon.

a simple list to consider when preparing to lead a meeting:

  • think about your audience: do they know each other? is any 1 person new to the group? has it been awhile since they’ve been together as a group? as you think about your audience – consider planning a short time at the beginning of the meeting for the group to get to know each other better or to become reacquainted with each other.
  • create an agenda with time codes: there’s no better feeling than walking into a meeting with an agenda that has accounted for every minute. while preparing for a meeting – create an agenda that spells out how every minute will be used. for example:  7:00-7:15 – Introductions, 7:15-7:45- Strategic Planning, 7:45-8:45 Creative Brainstorming, 8:45-9:00 Meeting Summary and Next Steps.
  • set very clear meeting goals: while preparing for a meeting, take time to think about what you hope will be accomplished at the end of the meeting. set 2-3 tangible goals, for example: brainstorm 5 possible christmas themes, define 3 next steps in implementing the christmas program, and identify 2 potential volunteers.

work hard and commit to leading a great meeting – the effort you put in during the preparation phase will surely pay off during the actual meeting time. and if all else fails, try preparing for a triathlon – it might be easier than leading a great meeting!

follow up resources: my holy discontent: bad meetings –  a previous blog post, death by meeting – a book by patrick lencioni, and meetingsa fantastic blog post by seth godin.

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