What if someone asks to borrow your checkbook? And then the person says, “By the way, could you sign the checks before handing it over?”
And yet, people freely sign over huge chunks of their lives by agreeing to attend pointless meetings.
Here are five things to ask about before agreeing to attend.
What are the goals for the meeting? Why are you holding this meeting? What do you want to have when you finish?
If you receive a vague answer, such as, “to discuss business” or “just to talk about something,” be warned that this meeting lacks direction.
What is your agenda? How do you plan to accomplish these goals? What will we do during the meeting?
You want to know the plan for the meeting before you agree to attend. A meeting without an agenda is like a journey without a map.
Note that a meeting without a clear goal or a complete agenda will always waste your time.
What is my role in the meeting? Why are you asking me to attend? What do you expect of me during the meeting.
You want to attend only those meetings where you have an impact. Otherwise, ask for a copy of the minutes.
Who else is coming to the meeting? Why have you asked them to attend? How well do they support your goals for the meeting?
This tells you how to prepare and what to expect. Otherwise, you could find yourself being invited to an ambush.
How should I prepare? What should I bring? What else do I need to know about this meeting (e.g., where is it being held)?
Attending a meeting without sufficient preparation will make you appear incompetent. If the time required to prepare exceeds what you can afford, suggest alternatives such as rescheduling the meeting.