Making your meetings collaborative

Meetings are meant to be a collaborative process.

They’re events where people come together to discuss progress, brainstorm ideas, provide status updates, and decide on next steps.

However, often times, we approach and look at our meetings in a vacuum. You come into the meeting, think about what you have to say, and only pay attention to what pertains to you.

And this extends into how we often both prepare for and progress from the meetings. You may not prepare your own talking points, perhaps because there was no agenda set or provided. Maybe you just didn’t bother asking for one, which may make you go into the meeting blindsided.

You may not execute on any action items or takeaways afterwards, perhaps because no one told you what you needed to do.

But therein lies the problem itself; it’s not about someone telling you what to do, it’s about you discussing it together — collaboratively.

Perhaps there was a note taker during the meeting, or someone taking minutes, but if the notes aren’t shared out afterwards, then what was the purpose, really? If people can’t go back and look at what was discussed, the entire collaborative idea and nature of meetings is defeated.

You wouldn’t hold a meeting with just yourself, so why do we often treat the pre- and post-meeting process that way?

It’s time we embraced meetings to be collaborative.

Here are some simple steps you can take to make your meetings collaborative:

Before the meeting:

Sharing out agendas in advance will allow people to properly prepare for meetings and come in well equipped with their respective talking points.

In addition, this helps give them much more context as to what is actually being discussed, otherwise it could just feel like ‘just another meeting’ on their calendar.

This also allows for people to add things to the agenda if they so wish, as there may be things they wish to discuss that weren’t initially on the agenda.

During the meeting:

Meeting notes should be taken together one a centralized platform (like Do!), rather than having one individual note taker — or people taking their own individual version of the meeting notes.

The latter can be problematic as people may end up with slightly different versions of what was said in the meeting, and things can get lost in translation! You don’t want this ending up like a game of broken telephone.

Tasks and action items should be laid out clearly, with the respective person’s name listed (and perhaps a due date / some more context), to ensure the necessary accountability. This helps combat the age-old question of “what was I supposed to do again?”.

After the meeting:

The notes should be shared out with everyone who the meeting pertains to — whether they were actually present or not (or even part of the calendar invite). This is a major key!🔑

For example, a small team could be holding a status meeting, and their manager may not have been part of it — but that manager may still need to be in the loop as to what was discussed.

Sharing out the notes with the attendees will allow all them to easily look back on the action items that they need to complete, in addition to the rest of the notes for further context.

This also then allows them to tie those tasks into the rest of their workflow, rather than manually having to remember them and re-write them into their various project or task management apps.

By providing everyone with a heads up of what the meeting is going to be about, and a recap of what took place at the meeting, the collaborative notion of meetings truly is complete.

No longer are people left guessing what was agreed upon or what task was assigned to them — it’s all laid out clearly for everyone.

This ensures proper structure and transparency, making things clear and ensuring things actually get done afterwards.

And that’s all it takes! Follow these simple steps today to get your meetings on the right track.