Here’s a great tip for any leader: start planning the next meeting immediately after one meeting ends. Make creating the agenda for next time you meet the first thing on your to-do list.

Over the past few years I’ve regularly chaired meetings for boards of charity trustees, for a church leaders fraternal, for a community arts festival, for a church leadership team, and for a charity staff team. Each of them present their own challenges, and each have a different frequency of meeting. Some met weekly, some monthly, some every two months, some every four months. But each one benefitted from the same principle of planning the next meeting immediately after the previous one ends.

At the end of a meeting is when you have the clearest plan in your head for what needs to be done immediately, what needs to be discussed when the team next comes together, and what needs to be done in the interim. So it makes sense to immediately put that together into the next agenda, before it all gets confused or forgotten.

It’s now the first thing I do when a meeting breaks up and other people leave. Even if I’m the one writing up the minutes of the previous meeting, before I do that I start planning the next meeting by creating the agenda of what we’re going to do next time we meet. And it’s made my meetings much more productive, with a greater sense of progress from one to the next as we all sense we are moving forward.

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.

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