Meetings • 6 min read

How to prep for a meeting: the 4 questions you should ask yourself

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This may feel fine and comfortable even inevitable but it’s really the false comfort of procrastination. In the long run, recurring meetings become content-poor and time gets wasted in small ways. Words are exchanged, but insights are lacking.

By asking yourself these four simple questions (and doing a bit of the legwork involved in the answers), you can transform how you show up to meetings.


1) What progress has been made since the last meeting?

Look through the notes from your last meeting and see if you accomplished everything you committed to. Write up a list of the concrete items you have made progress on so you can give a quick and informed status update.

For the things you didn’t accomplish, ask yourself what was blocking your progress. Think about the resources you need that the people in the meeting could give you. Do you need more time, more guidance, ideas for a different approach? Take notes on what you come up with.   

The Stratsys Meetings way:

Have a look at two things: your action item list and the minutes from your last meeting in this series. Tick off the action items you have completed, and make notes on the items that are left on your list. Have a glance at your “finished” tasks and think about how those went, and what you might change going forward. Look over the meeting minutes to jog your memory about the content of the last meeting and the action items assigned to the rest of your team.


2) What would I add to the agenda?

Asking yourself this question is a good way to really engage with the content of the agenda, rather than just skimming over it. See if you can identify gaps important facets of the conversation that could be missing. Formulate your suggestions and email the person who created the agenda, or simply take notes for your own reference.

If you want to go further, you can prime conversations with some advance communication. Perspectives exchanged in the meeting will be more dynamic if thoughts are already swirling.  Send meeting participants an email with some questions you look forward to exploring. Forward them a relevant article. Run ideas by them ahead of time. 

The Stratsys Meetings way:

Make your contributions directly in the shared agenda. Modify or add agenda items, and start enriching the information around each item by writing down ideas and publishing links in the Notes section.


3) What are the 3 most relevant documents?

Watching someone dig up a document on their computer has to be one of the top meeting time-wasters. It takes up a completely unspecified amount of time it could be 20 seconds, or 2 minutes and breaks up discussion and focus regardless. 

If you know the topic of discussion at hand, then you can take a pretty good guess at what documents you will need to support your ideas. Budget? Previous statistics? Strategy document? Drag these files into a folder or bookmark them. It’s also wise to pull up the notes from your last meeting. Bonus points if you share these with the other meeting participants, or at least be ready to share.

The Stratsys Meetings way:

Attach files to the agenda. Everyone will automatically have access. Also, no need to scramble for the notes from the last meeting, they’re easily accessible.


4) What will be my unique contribution?

Be confident that you’ll bring value to the table before you sit down. Don’t wait for a flash of brilliance during the meeting. It may never come. After all, intelligence is more about preparation than anything else.

Do some research and some thinking. What will you bring to this meeting? A string of insightful questions? A new idea? An experimental solution? An analysis? A challenge?

The Stratsys Meetings way:

Create Reminders for yourself about the ideas you would like to research further, and set deadlines for them. You can even include your findings/analysis in the comments section under these reminders.


There’s no such thing as being silent in a meeting even if you’re just being briefed, even if you’re the intern (especially if you’re the intern!). If you have no opinions to give or questions to ask, it means you simply haven’t done your research. By asking yourself these four questions, you can extract maximum value from every meeting, for yourself and for everyone that attends.

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