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Tips on Productive Meetings

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Who loves meetings? My favorites are the meetings you have to prepare for more meetings. The other might be the repeated meeting because everyone walked away from the previous one with the idea that something was supposed to be done by somebody by some date, nothing specific. Do these situations happen on the daily for you and your teams?

Not only are these situations frustrating, and time consuming, but they can be avoided. I have been facilitating meetings for over 11 years and have definitely learned a thing or two from my experiences. I want to share these quick tips with you so you can stop wasting time and keep things moving forward. Some or all of these you probably already know, but haven’t put them into practice. Once you do begin using them, people are going to love you because you are showing you are thoughtful of their time and you want to keep the ball rolling.

Tip 1: Designate to capture the highlights. This is normally performed by the person initiating the invite, but don’t assume. At the beginning of every meeting, if it is not known, make sure someone is responsible for the meeting notes.

Tip 2: Invite all necessary key stakeholders or subject matter experts. There can be much time lost if a meeting is conducted without the right people in the room or on the call. You typically will have to reschedule or conduct another meeting because people adjusted their calendars to be there when you were supposed to have everyone available to discuss the matter at hand.

Tip 3: Provide an agenda ahead of the meeting. Distribute the agenda in plenty of time for the attendees to review. The agenda should include the high-level discussion point, and it should even indicate who would be expected to be engaged. Getting this out before the meeting may save you with Tip 2 above. If the attendee is aware they are expected to discuss something, they may opt to bring a subject matter expert or at least be able to discuss the detail you may be looking for in the meeting.

Tip 4: Distribute meeting recaps or minutes in a timely manner. Not only does someone need to be responsible for listening and capturing the discussion, but someone needs to be responsible for distributing the information. The recaps should include any action items, and identify who will complete them and the due date. The information needs to go out as soon as possible so attendees are aware of their responsibilities.

These tips are simple and easy to implement, but could save your teams time and frustration. I try to be as consistent as possible with these practices because it eventually translates into a cadence that provides efficiency and clear communication, with no time lost. Try it out, and start making your meetings more productive. Let me know how you do!

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