Let’s make the most out of our meetings

Meetings are expensive, in terms of time, money, energy and focus during our workday so it’s key to make them as efficient as possible.

Here’s a quick set of practices I’ve personally found useful to achieve it:

Sending an agenda in advance

The agenda should sequence the topics to be covered so that:

  • the most important topics get covered first
  • participants can optionally leave the meeting early as the topics they are interested on get resolved

Having only key stakeholders in the meeting

Avoid occupying people’s time if it’s not actually necessary; you can always make use of Minute of Meetings to keep non-key people in the loop.

Keeping the focus

Avoid bikeshedding at all costs and don’t be afraid to interrupt and say “Should you Jon and Peter discuss this offline?”.

Everyone in the call will be thankful if you do this politely!

Moderating

  • Giving introverts the opportunity to talk
  • Limiting the time extroverts take up
  • Assisting in decision making
  • Capturing conclusions by reiterating key takeaways with questions like: “Is … a fair summary of what we’ve agreed to?”
  • Shifting focus to the next topic in the agenda as appropriate

Being mindful of time

Try and distribute time based on the topic’s importance.

If for some reason your meeting still gets off track and you find yourself having spent half of the time you had available on one of the four topics you had planned to cover… react quickly and expedite the meeting or evaluate the possibility of extending it (if participants are available) or rescheduling some of the topics for later discussion.

Sending a Minute of Meeting

Capturing:

  • what’s been covered
  • action items like “Jon to share wireframes with Peter by end of week”

In order to hold everyone accountable for their action items start every recurring meeting making sure all the action items from the previous one have been addressed already by their respective owners.

That’s all I have! Which techniques do you use to make the most out of your meetings? I’d love to add up to this!