I was recently invited to a meeting at work. It was part of a series of meetings for a major project that we are conducting. The meeting was to discuss details about a technology of our systems that I am responsible for administering and maintaining.
The email invitation had an agenda attached. I read the agenda, but I didn't understand it. This is where I made a wrong turn. Rather than investigate the agenda and learn the terminology and technical references, I just put it on the back-burner and worked on other projects (with a decidedly lower priority).
When it came time for the meeting, it was my turn to answer a few important questions. I got the first one wrong because I had not prepared for the meeting properly. I was kindly corrected by another employee from my organization and the meeting continued. Unfortunately, because I was ill-prepared, the meeting took longer than it should have because we had to catch me up to what they were asking for. Once I finally understood, the answer was simple.
This taught me that preparation for a big meeting is important. Not just to be aware of the meeting topic, but to be able to contribute when it's my turn at the microphone.
I will make every effort to be prepared for future meetings. Luckily, this was just a single project requirement. However, if this had been a larger topic, it could have had severe repercussions.