8 Steps to Meeting Preparation for Team Leaders

8 Steps to Meeting Preparation for Team Leaders

Mar 7, 2024

When you’re a busy team leader attending back-to-back meetings every day, it can be tempting to skip the meeting prep and just go right into your next meeting. But meeting preparation can make all the difference between a successful meeting and a mediocre one. Sending out an agenda in advance of the meeting lets meeting participants know what to expect and allows the facilitator to run a better meeting.

Here’s how to create your own meeting agenda and meeting preparation checklist so you don’t have to scramble to put one together at the last minute.

What Is Meeting Preparation?

Meeting preparation: entrepreneur calling for a meeting

Meeting preparation means doing your pre-meeting homework to ensure that you’re ready to facilitate or participate in a meeting. This can include physical meeting prep, such as compiling documents and setting up the meeting room, as well as mental preparation, such as researching discussion points and agenda items.

Meeting preparation looks a little bit different for facilitators and participants.

For facilitators

Meeting organizers and facilitators are responsible for communicating the purpose of the meeting and choosing the meeting time. Meeting preparation may include:

  • Creating a meeting agenda
  • Sending out supporting documents
  • Setting up the meeting room and technology
  • Starting and ending the meeting on time

For participants

Other team members may have less work to do before the meeting, but still need to be prepared to contribute to an effective meeting. These responsibilities include: 

  • Confirming attendance (or absence)
  • Proposing action items and talking points
  • Reviewing documents in advance of the meeting
  • Choosing a note-taking strategy or note-taking tool

Key Benefits of Meeting Preparation

Meeting preparation: manager calling for a meeting

Meeting preparation can feel like a chore, but it ensures that your meetings themselves are less time-consuming and more efficient. Here are four benefits of effective meeting prep that can help you achieve your desired outcomes.


Preparing for a business meeting in advance makes the experience more professional. This is especially true if you’re running a project kickoff meeting and have stakeholders to impress, or a board meeting that requires formal meeting minutes.

Putting in the time to prepare shows that you care about the outcome and respect the effort that participants have made to show up to the meeting.


Meeting preparation makes your meeting more inclusive by catering to attendees with different communication styles or learning disabilities.

For example, participants with auditory processing disorder may find it easier to follow along with a written agenda than to pay attention to what meeting attendees are saying in real-time. Other participants may feel more comfortable submitting agenda items in advance rather than bringing up difficult topics face-to-face.


When meeting attendees know what’s on the agenda and show up with clear objectives, it takes less time to reach agreement and make important decisions. Waiting to the last minute to send out an agenda, or simply having an open-ended discussion, increases the amount of time it takes to get through the meeting.

Expecting participants to show up prepared makes for a more efficient meeting culture and leads to better problem-solving and decision-making.

Peace of mind

Running a meeting without a plan can be stressful, especially if the meeting facilitator is also the one handling logistical or technical issues. From trying out virtual meeting tools in advance to testing out the lighting and acoustics in a conference room, preparing for your meeting in advance gives you peace of mind that it will run smoothly.

Plus, having fewer technical difficulties and Zoom error messages means participants will be less likely to get annoyed or experience meeting burnout.

8 Steps to Effective Meeting Preparation

Meeting preparation: old man saying, hell is mostly emails and Zooms that should have been emails

Getting better at meeting management is key to being a better manager or team leader. From fun and engaging team meetings to one-on-one skip-level meetings, follow these nine steps to run more effective meetings and foster a productive meeting culture.

1. Identify the purpose of the meeting

Before doing anything else, make sure you know why you’re organizing a meeting in the first place. Your meeting’s purpose could be as simple as “brainstorming” or “budgeting,” but it should be more specific than just meeting for the sake of meeting.

Having a clear purpose for your meeting will determine its format and length, and give attendees an idea of how intensive or demanding the meeting will be.

2. Schedule your meeting

Scheduling is an important part of meeting prep, because time and location can really make or break your meeting. Start by deciding if you’ll be hosting a remote, in-person, or hybrid meeting, and choose the time and place accordingly.

For recurring meetings, consider varying the time and place to account for everyone’s work schedules, time zones, and morning routines.

3. Send out meeting invites

Next, send out meeting invites that include all of the important details participants need to know about the meeting. This should include the purpose of the meeting, as well as the time and place so they can easily add it to their calendar.

If you’re using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or another video conferencing platform, include a link to the meeting so participants can get there with a single click.

4. Test out your technology

Don’t wait until the meeting’s about to begin to make sure your technology works. For virtual meetings, test out your camera and microphone in advance. Do you intend to screen share or set up a PowerPoint presentation? Try that out too.

If you’ll be using an automated note-taking tool like Anchor AI to take meeting notes, make sure you’ve tried it out already and know how to use it.

5. Create a meeting agenda

The most time-consuming part of meeting preparation is creating the agenda. This is a list of every item up for discussion, and the amount of time set aside for each topic, so the facilitator knows how much time to spend on each item.

Use a meeting agenda template to save time — or use Anchor AI’s Quick Prep tool to generate an agenda automatically based on the content of your previous meeting.

6. Send out documentation

Once you’ve made the agenda, your meeting preparation is done, right? Not yet. Send out the agenda in advance of the meeting so participants have time to review it.

Consider including supporting documents, such as major proposals, committee reports, or PowerPoint slides. This will allow participants to do their own meeting preparation in advance and come up with a list of questions or discussion points.

7. Take great notes

Note-taking doesn’t happen until the meeting is in progress, but you can give yourself a head start by choosing a note-taking method and preparing a template. By organizing your notes by agenda item, you’ll have less work to do during the meeting itself.

Of course, you can always go one step further and use an automated note-taking tool like Anchor AI to take notes for you. Anchor AI can generate a full transcript, meeting minutes, or a Topical Summary, so you can pay more attention to the meeting.

It works for in-person meetings too: Use Anchor AI to capture an audio recording of your meeting so you can revisit it later! 

8. Follow up after the meeting

Sending out a follow-up email after your meeting reinforces the key takeaways of the meeting and serves as preparation for your next meeting. You can use Anchor AI to create a helpful meeting summary with action items.

Do you need a more advanced tool for keeping track of follow-up items? Anchor AI’s built-in project manager, Max, can automatically identify action items and add them to your task list so you don’t have to. Max can even delegate tasks to individual team members and attach a due date based on the content of the meeting.

Streamline Meeting Preparation With Anchor AI

Entrepreneur saying, legacy meeting adjourned

Meeting preparation is an unavailable part of meeting management. From sending out meeting invites to creating an agenda, doing a little extra work in advance will ensure your meeting goes as planned. You can use automated note-taking tools and project management AI to streamline the process and do some of the work for you.

With Max, your AI project manager, you can get help with some of the most tedious parts of meeting prep. Use the Quick Prep tool to create a meeting agenda, Topical Summary to organize your notes, and Max Tasks to capture action items for you.

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