How much time do you spend on meetings? If the answer is “a lot”, then in the next four minutes of reading, I am going to share some of the tips that the most effective teams are using in order to improve their work. It is not a mission impossible to make the meetings short, to the point and effective. What it takes is good framework and reliable staff. I have five recommendation that you might find useful.
Have a pre-communicated agenda
Here I want to share my thoughts on standardization. In other words, don’t have a complex agenda structure with endless points. Pick one standardized framework that will consist of 3-5 points. I know few PM’s that lead meetings based on 3 points: What I did yesterday, what I will do today and what blockers/issues do I have. Create yours and test them out for a month. Then iterate if necessary. The benefits from this approach are:
- People will know that the meeting will be to the point and their brain will stay focused;
- Everyone can come prepared;
- Everyone will feel ownership of their tasks. No hiding.
Have a booking and rebooking approach
Things can be very dynamic most of the time. This requests a “dynamic booking” approach. The first step of this approach is to book the meeting time and location in advance, involving your team members. When it comes to weekly or biweekly meetings, then it is easier – since you can “train” your team members to reserve that period for your meeting.
But, when things get shaky, deploy step two: Re-booking. This means that, for meetings that are important, you will assign someone to build the importance and communicate different segments before the meeting happens so it can holds their top of mind. As an example, if the meetings happens on the 20th, book the meeting on the 5th and then every 5 days communicate some fresh information that will compel them to be eager to come on the meeting. Also use this “build up” communication for additional confirmation for participation.
Create your toolbox
What is your experience with running meetings when your team members are not all in the same location? It is harder right? Well collaboration tools can cure that pain. Participating remotely to a meeting, nowadays, requires very little effort on your side. I say this due to the fact that we are very much technologically connected and now, our smartphones and tablets can enhance every area of our professional life. Here, I will invite you to click the link APROPLAN and try our software so you can feel the benefits for yourself.
Move from single person to multiple person agenda creation
What happens usually…. You schedule a meeting and arrange everybody to be there right? Well if that doesn’t work for you, then you would love this new approach. What if you can have the main meeting structure fixed (recommendation #1 above) and then allow your team members to access that agenda and share what they are going to cover.
This will be step further towards better ownership and responsibility. If you want to spice things up, then also dedicate time frame to every segment of the framework. Example: 3 min per person to share what she done yesterday or last week, 3 min for what will happen this week and 3 more for blockers or challenges. Use timer in order to be fair and to focus their attention.
Have a strict follow up process
We do meetings in order massive action to happen afterwards. Most of the managers say that meetings are useless because “post festum”, the people don’t take action. Having a system that will record the actions and make them visible afterwards is a recommended approach. Then schedule those actions for review the next meeting under the “what did I do yesterday/last week”.