This is the starting point of holding effective meetings. Always prepare a written agenda and provide a copy for each participant. One of the biggest mistakes in any meeting, formal or informal, no matter how short, is to start off without an agenda.
When I was younger, I would meet with my boss on a regular basis, usually daily. But I found that if we were not very careful, we could talk for as long as an hour and not have reached closure on anything. This state of affairs was dissatisfying to both of us.
Without any training or preparation, one day I wrote out a list of the things that I wanted to discuss with him and brought an extra photocopy of my handwritten list to the meeting. As soon as I showed my boss the ...