Make Your Meetings Matter

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“A meeting is an event where minutes are kept and hours are lost.” Whether you’ve heard a version of this unattributed quote or simply agree with its sentiment, if we’re being honest, hours aren’t the only things we can lose in meetings.

While sometimes necessary, meetings upon meetings can drain our focus, productivity and even buy-in from our teams. However, there’s no reason meetings have to be this way. Thanks to our hybrid reality, we have new opportunities to explore different ways of enhancing our working conditions, including breathing new life into the once-dreaded meeting. Read on to learn how you can make the most of your meetings.

 

Make your meetings mindful.

Zoom’s Mindful Meetings Checklist offers a great start by asking the organizer, “Is this meeting necessary?” Meetings should only be held if:

  1. there’s a clear purpose or goal
  2. collaboration and open discussion are essential
  3. complex or sensitive information needs to be discussed

If you, as the organizer, answered “no,” to either A, B or C, hold off on the meeting. This doesn’t mean that your needs aren’t important but rather that an email, instant message or a good old phone call may provide a quicker, more efficient solution.

If a meeting is necessary, try using this checklist to ensure your meeting is worthwhile every step of the way.

Before the Meeting

During the Meeting

After the Meeting

  1. Confirm all invitees are there for a reason
  2. Create and share an agenda so people can prepare
  3. Schedule the appropriate amount of time
  4. Get in the right mindset to lead the meeting
  1. Greet everyone and set a positive tone
  2. Encourage participation and give everyone a chance to contribute
  3. Stick to the agenda
  1. Send a summary, action items and recordings (if necessary) so people can take the appropriate next steps
  2. Gather feedback from those not at the meeting and those who may not have contributed as much
  3. Reflect—evaluate and note where improvements can be made next time

 

Make your meetings inclusive.

According to TED.com* there are 15 ways to make your meetings more inclusive. While all are awesome suggestions, here are the fab four we picked out from the list as you may not have thought of them before!

  1. Confirm names. If possible, ask participants to update and edit their onscreen names so their preferred name or nickname is visible. For example, Melissa may only want to go by Melissa, not Mel or Missy, while Mohamed may prefer Mo.
  2. Support accessibility. In all your meeting invites (remember, things can change so don’t assume), put a call out to participants to reach out if they have accessibility needs. This way you can prepare, assist and ensure everyone’s access—not just those who’ve requested support in the past.
  3. Read the room. Use polls and chat functions to gather important information, such as a sense of how the group is feeling or feedback on sensitive subjects from those who may not want to speak out.
  4. Expand your reach. Virtual platforms provide an opportunity to hear from those in a company who may not have been previously accessible. Before sending out that meeting invite, ask yourself: whose voice can you amplify now that connecting is just one screen away?

 

Make your meetings…less like a meeting.

At the end of the day, why do we like meetings? Is it the ideas, the resolution or simply connecting with others? Whatever your need, if a formal meeting just doesn’t feel right, there are other ways you can fill your cup and your work needs thanks to The Muse’s tips:

  1. Write an email
  2. Send a direct message
  3. Record a video
  4. Create a ticket
  5. Make an FAQ document
  6. Start a thread (e.g., on chat, on a project management tool, etc.)
  7. Mark up a document
  8. Send out a survey
  9. Brainstorm on an online whiteboard
  10. Get on the phone

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