The Pre-Launch Phase is the time you spend planning the meeting so that it is a good investment of everyone's time.
There are 4 major items to determine in advance of any meeting:
- Have a clearly defined objective. Meeting objectives are tangible deliverables best described as nouns, not verbs.
- A typical objective is: “Discuss the budget.” But, what’s the outcome?
- A better objective is: “By the end of this meeting, we will have agreed on three, cost-cutting solutions to support new budget requirements.”
- Choose the method of decision-making. Transparency is critical. Participants want to know if the decision has already been made, or who is making it. Clarity of their roles is important. Here are decision-making methods you may use:
- Consensus - this decision gets better buy-in, but also takes more time. Consensus is a decision everyone can live with and support.
- Leader decides, and communicates.
- Leader gets input from the team, then decides and communicates.
- Delegate with constraints – leader passes on decision-making to the team, and states criteria to which the decision must adhere.
- Decide key stakeholders. Determining who should be at the meeting (decision-makers, information-givers, implementers, benefactors) and then analyzing the following:
- What’s In It For Them? (WIIFM?) – Why should they attend?
- What issues and concerns may each participant have about attending?
- What is a “win” for each attendee?
- Create an agenda. The agenda is a road map for success. A prepared agenda can be distributed two weeks in advance of the meeting. At this point, attendees can determine if they should come, who may be missing, and have time to prepare. Points to be included on the agenda:
- Participants and roles
- Time frames
Although the Pre-Launch Phase appears to be time consuming, it will make the meeting run more smoothly and accomplish it's goal, which ultimately saves time and money!