Meeting Tips

Make the Most of Meetings

Ginny Gaylor

Ginny Gaylor

Here’s what you have to do so you don’t lose the momentum from your meeting.

How many times have you left a virtual meeting and thought, “Nailed it! I’m getting things done!” And then a day later, a week later, realize that what you thought was covered in that meeting hasn’t materialized? Or worse, meetings have turned into a time suck where staff keeps assembling and rehashing the same thing without making any true progress.

It happens to the best of us, but you can keep it from happening in the future by doing two simple things.

Take notes

We don’t know many people that enjoy taking notes, but there’s a reason for them. Having a written record of what happened in a meeting not only helps you recall what exactly was discussed, but meeting notes can also keep people honest on who is responsible for what.

Another bonus? Meeting notes help ensure anyone who missed the meeting is up to speed.

The key is to keep your notes clear and concise. Aim for a page at most. You simply need to capture the key takeaways. This isn’t a court transcript requiring everyone’s exact words written down for posterity. And the faster you get the notes sent out the better. Aim for a 24-hour turnaround or less.

Follow-up

Notes are out, people are informed, your job is done. Right? Not so fast cowboy. The second crucial task that must be performed to guarantee your meeting wasn’t a wasted effort is the follow-up.

Sure some of your meeting attendees will take the task they were given in the meeting and run with it. But not all are so conscientious. Maybe their particular deadline got cast aside because of an urgent task. Maybe they aren’t clear on their responsibility. Maybe they simply aren’t self-starters.

Whatever the issue, regular follow-ups can nip these issues in the bud. Now, we aren’t suggesting micromanaging staff, so here’s how you do it. At the end of the meeting, agree on what happens next and establish deadlines. Take into consideration other projects and give people a chance to weigh in on the due dates. Let people know that they have to reach out if something comes up and they’ll need to shift their deadline. Finally, tell everyone that you will be checking in at regular intervals. Doing all this should keep your meetings on track and productive.

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