We all love to hate meetings, but they can and should be a net gain.

Here are 3 hacks to give your meetings an edge. Or at least, make them less painful.

 

1. Lay the groundwork

Ask yourself: is this meeting necessary? Why are we having it? Is there a better option - email, Slack, call, etc?

Be clear: share the meeting’s goal/s – whether or not you have an agenda.

Set expectations: communicate whose presence is merely “nice to have” vs whose is vital. Talk to key stakeholders ahead time to align objectives and arrange for them to present their agenda item as needed.

Stack your agenda: put the easiest items - even if the plan becomes derailed later, you will have achieved something. Consider putting time-stamps next to each agenda item and having different people present each one.

 

2. Actively facilitate

It's on you to make sure your meeting is a good use of people time. 

Start on time and end early. Doing this consistently will ensure participants arrive on time. And nobody dislikes getting time back.

Prep the room: If you need equipment (video, flip charts, etc.) arrange for it ahead of time – and get there early so people aren’t waiting while you figure stuff out.

Stay on track: first thank everyone for joining and offer introductions as needed. For larger or more formal meetings, consider reviewing any ground rules.

Someone talking too much? Jump in (politely) to summarize their points so far and pivot back to the agenda or pull someone else into the discussion. Briefly recap after each agenda item.

 

3. Follow-up

Close with action items: what will change as a result of your meeting? Assign owners to each task/ask as needed. When do things need to happen? Put (even approximate) times/dates on things now.

Follow-up: email a brief summary or offer follow-ups at the start of your next meeting.

 

As with most communications, meetings are all about preparing, being respectful of people's time, and offering clarity in everything. Have questions? Talk to us.