Typically, meetings are required when the subject or conversation is complex, nuanced, or requires richer emotional content, for example:
Team and all-hands meetings
Complex problems (strategically, many moving parts, emotionally fraught, time-sensitive)
Only participate in meetings that have an agenda
A meeting without an agenda is a meeting without a purpose. Whenever you are invited to a meeting, without an agenda, regardless of whom it’s with, you have to ask for the objective.
The agenda should be shared with all participants as early as possible to give them the chance to prepare for the meeting.
Always challenge the attendance list
Does everybody invited need to be there? The answer is usually no.
If you’re a manager or team leader, or just want to save someone time, let certain participants whose presence isn’t critical know that, while they’re definitely welcome, their attendance is optional if they have something else important to work on.
Keep in mind, eight people in a 30-minute meeting corresponds to a total of 4 hours of work time.
Prepare for meetings
Take 15 minutes before a meeting to prepare yourself.
Look at the agenda, think about the topic, formulate your key questions.
Anticipate critical questions in advance and premeditate your answers.
During the meeting
Hyperfocus on meetings
Engaging can be tough when meetings consume more of your time than they do your attention and energy. However, if you do decide a meeting is worth attending, or you can’t get out of it, enjoy it! You may end up getting a lot of value out of the meeting after all.
Focus on what everyone is saying
Contribute what you can and whenever you can
Help move things along so that everyone can leave early
Ensure that the meeting has a leader
This person should make sure that all participants focus and engage in the meeting and is accountable for the productivity of the meeting. It is the meeting leader’s responsibility to:
Provide context for the problem at hand
Initiate the discussion
Keep the discussion focused on the topic/along the agenda
People love to get distracted by small details & can spend 90 percent of the meeting time on a random detail
The meeting leader should actively intervene if the discussion is losing focus
If another topic emerges, add it to the agenda at the end
Track the time and vocally raise delays
Sometimes this requires cutting a discussion short and moving on
Highlight underrepresented voices
People who speak more do not have better ideas than those who do not speak up; as a leader, you can level the playing field
Timekeeping is crucial—meetings must start and end on time. Some basic guidelinesto follow are:
Keep it short! No meeting should take longer than it has to be. It’s OK to schedule for shorter periods.
Start on time! Given you sent an invite in advance, there’s no need to wait for people to arrive if they’re not on time. Start the meeting as scheduled. Sometimes individual people will be late, but there’s no need to impose that delay on all participants. Let’s encourage a culture of starting on time. It’s just a habit to get used to.
End on time! End the meeting as soon as the objective is reached.
If that’s earlier than expected, excellent, end the meeting early (you will see happy faces).
Suppose that’s right on time, also great. You’re a timekeeping master.
If you’re running out of time, still finish the meeting on time and take the last minute(s) to wrap the meeting up.
What if the meeting has not achieved its goal in time?
Discuss the remaining open points async.
Schedule another meeting.
Get every participant’s consent to extend the meeting for a set amount of time.
Meeting Notes Template – an overview
Let’s see how a meeting notes template could look like. Here you can see a suggestion of a meeting note template you can use during your meetings.
After email, meetings are one of the biggest distractions we face throughout the day. They also consume an inordinate amount of time. One recent study found that, on average, knowledge workers spend 37 percent of their time in meetings. Over an eight-hour work day, that’s three hours spent in meetings every day.
Meetings are remarkably costly. Gather even a small group of people in a conference room for an hour, and you can easily lose an entire day’s worth of work—and that’s not even counting the time it takes everyone to switch his or her attention to and from what’s being discussed.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with such gatherings, but pointless meetings are one of the largest productivity drains in the modern office.