The Basics of Organizing For Data Science: Why Prepare For A Meeting

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This is the second in a series on The Basics of Organizing For Data Science.

In this series:

Why Prepare For A Meeting

  • Because your time is valuable and non-renewable;
  • Because time is valuable and non-renewable;
  • Because you want to get off the critical path or continue on the critical path.

When To Prepare For A Meeting

  • Before the meeting.

How To Prepare For A Meeting

  • Read the agenda;
  • If there is no agenda, ask for the agenda;
  • Does the agenda indicate a decision, situation, or consultation that you need to be prepared for?
  • If you need to gather the facts on your own, book time for yourself to gather those facts in your own calendar;
  • If you need to gather facts from others in order to prepare for the meeting, ask others for those facts and be transparent about the origin of the time pressure for the request;
  • If you need to create common understanding or a shared story, in advance of the meeting, book that meeting and create an agenda;
  • If you need to synthesize the facts into a statement or a position in advance of the meeting, book time for yourself to synthesize those points;
  • Can your synthesis be explained in a simple, single-chain, cause-and-effect, sentence? If so, pound it out in a note to yourself, if not, you may need a powerfully pointed deck or white board draw;
  • If you cannot be prepared for the meeting, if there is not enough lead time, let the chair know.

Who Prepares For A Meeting

  • You, alone, are responsible for yourself being prepared for a meeting.

Where to Prepare For A Meeting

  • For meetings with your bosses and bosses bosses, rehearse your presentation in the room where the meeting typically happens;
  • For meetings with your peers, re-read your story at your desk the day of the meeting;
  • For meetings with your peers, that you are chairing, have the agenda visible three to five minutes before you execute your chair;
  • For meetings with your team, that you are chairing, have the agenda visible three to five meetings before you execute the chair;
  • For meetings with your team, that you are attending, smile at yourself or let out a good laugh prior to the meeting either in your office or in the stairs.

Conclusion

  • Meetings happen for a reason;
  • Truly reasonable meetings have agendas;
  • The agenda contains clues or hints as to what you need to do to prepare for the meeting;
  • Prepare for the meeting;
  • Come prepared for the meeting.