How many times have you seen a meeting request come through on your calendar or email and instantly felt a pit in your stomach. Meetings can be the ultimate struggle. Unlike replying to an email or message, which you can pretty much do on your own time, meetings require your physical presence, active attention and aren’t controlled by simply closing your browser window.
If you go in without a plan, you can spend hours in a meeting and come out with no more progress than when you first jumped in. Or even worse, you leave shouting about how everything discussed in the meeting could have, and should have, just been an email.
Today I want to talk about a few things you can do to make your meetings more productive (and drive you crazy less frequently)..
Determine the meeting objective
Before even setting a date or time for you meeting, review why the meeting is being requested. Is what’s being asked for really something that calls for an in person meeting? If you can’t determine what the objective of coming together would be, a phone call or clarification email might be better suited.
The reminder email
Solid meeting prep actually starts a few days before you hold the meeting. Two to three days in advance, send out a meeting reminder with the time, date, and location of the meeting as well at what everyone is responsible for bringing. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting to discuss a document that was never prepared or that someone forgot to bring.[Tweet “Prepping for a productive meeting begins days before your meeting date”]
Create the agenda
The agenda for your meeting will likely determine whether you leave the room satisfied or pulling your hair out. It helps to create it in an outline format, so that the meeting and information flow in a way that most makes sense. Be sure to indicate who is responsible for going over which points, and give them a time limit if you want to be really orderly. It also helps to put the meeting objective on the agenda, as a reminder.
Be sure to send the agenda out at least a day before the meeting to give attendees time to look things over and to (hopefully) prepare their sections.
Once everything has wrapped and the objective has been met, be sure to leave my assigning next steps and jotting down any follow up that needs to happen. And hopefully, there won’t be another meeting required!