A guide for better meetings

In the blogfoster Marketing-Team we came up with these rules to have more effective meetings. This ruleset is still work in progress and for some rules we still struggle to implement them in our daily workflow.

Nevertheless I wanted to share these rules with you. May be parts of it help you to have better meetings in your organization.

Preparation

Answer this question first: Why are we holding this meeting? This will be the first thing which needs to be announced in the beginning. It’s important to: a) understand if and how necessary the meeting is and b) explain to all attendees the purpose of the meeting.

Think about who really needs to participate. Who can benefit from the meeting? Keep meetings as small as possible.

Define the desired outcome(s) of the meeting in the beginning, so everyone knows what they are aiming to achieve.

Define questions you want to have answered and set them on the agenda.

Create an agenda with tops. Give time slots to every top.

Inviting People

Create a calendar invite and send it to those people you want to attend.

Paste the agenda in the notes section of the calendar entry.

Take care to reserve an appropriate meeting room.

Send around an email to every attendee with the agenda at least 24h before the meeting.

Most important: Tell attendees how and what they need to prepare for the meeting. If this needs more than 30 minutes for another person to prepare, schedule more time in advance.

Running the Meeting

Every meeting should have a lead. This person is chosen (doesn’t need to be the invitee at the beginning and ensures that the meeting agenda and timetable is adhered to.

The team lead is also a moderator who takes care the discussions don´t go deeper than necessary and ensures the discussion stays focused and objective, so that the meeting does not become driven by opinions.

Someone is responsible for taking notes and output of the meeting. This can be the meeting lead, but can be also delegated to another person.

Recap

Directly after a meeting, the meeting lead collects the output and protocol and writes a recap.

The most important part of the recap is to define actions that must be taken and assign tasks to all necessary parties, for which a deadline must be set.

The recap is sent to all attendees via email.

Create a follow-up meeting if necessary. Than the workflow starts again.