Meetings are a necessary evil in our business. Between staff meetings, project planning and review meetings, vendor meetings, and of course client meetings, its any wonder we get real work done at all.
But one thing I have learned in almost 25 years in the creative business is that people don’t like going to meetings. Meetings take time away from doing actual work, and seldom have real purpose or outcome: unless they are planned well and have an actionable outcome.
As a leader, one of your roles is to make sure things are running efficiently and effectively. This short list will help you plan and run better meetings.
#1: Do you really need to have a meeting?
Before you do anything, think hard about this. Could you accomplish what you need to do with an email or a phone call? Don’t waste people’s valuable time if organizing a meeting isn’t necessary.
#2: Prepare ahead of time.
A little prep work ahead of time will make you look like a real pro. Create an agenda that you can follow during the meeting, to keep things on track. Double-check conference room reservations and print out meeting materials. Send a calendar invitation with the time and location of the meeting and include valid dial-in, or video conferencing log in details. Also, pre-write a post-meeting thank-you email to send out when you get back to your desk.
#3: Take notes.
Using the agenda, write notes about each topic to guide conversations or what actions items are afterward. Each person in the meeting should have an action to follow-up on after the meeting. If you are not great at taking notes, assign someone to do it for you. The minutes will remind people what happened at the meeting and will allow you to share with anyone who was not available to attend the meeting.
#4: Follow up
After the meeting, when you get to your desk, send the post-meeting thank-you email. Leave room for the action items from your notes. Let everyone know when the meeting minutes will be available, and how they can access them. Schedule a follow-up meeting, if necessary.
#5: See number one.