Productive meetings

Productive meetings

1. Reflect

Before you start to plan a meeting, ask yourself if a meeting is really needed. If the sole purpose of the meeting is to disclose information, it might be better resolved through an e-mail or a phone call.

2. Plan your meeting

Determine the purpose – Why are you having a meeting? What should be the outcome?

Who will participate? – Think about who needs to be present for the meeting to serve its purpose. Then adapt the meeting to who is attending, ensuring that everyone gets something out of participating.

Write down the agenda for the meeting and put a timeline to each topic – All participants have different schedules, and it is important to respect this by starting and ending the meeting on time. 

Where should the meeting be held? – Think about the practical arrangement around the meeting. What resources are required, and what requirements does the physical site need to meet? Then make sure to book a space that meets all your requirements, in order for the goal of the meeting to be achieved.

3. During the meeting

Visualise the meeting agenda – Make sure that the agenda for the meeting is fully visible to all participants.

Role distribution – Appoint who facilitates, take notes and who keeps track of time.

Consensus – Start by explaining the purpose and goal of the meeting so that everyone who participates agrees with what should be done and with what is expected from them.

Stick to the topic – Dare to interrupt if the meeting is heading in the wrong direction. It is important to keep the time plan and focus on the issues set for the meeting. If a discussion is too far from the topic, write it down and put it on the agenda for the next meeting.

Take a break – Just hanging by the coffee machine is usually not enough to give the brain a break. Instead, go outside and take some air or do an active break together—for example, stretching or meditation.

4. Summary

Summarise what you came up with during the meeting and send out the notes immediately – Clarify the decisions made and how you will proceed from now. Who will do what, and when are they expected to be done?