On this final Thursday of what’s been a really unique year, I’m thinking about how many businesses were forced remote, and how that move affected productivity and happiness at work in so many ways. So with that general topic in mind, let’s talk meeting-best-practices.
Give fair notice, include an agenda.
- Provide time and context to give your peers the opportunity to prepare.
- Remember to give colleagues (and yourself) a gap between meetings when scheduling. Everyone deserves a few minutes to reset before their next discussion. 10 – 15 minutes is recommended.
- Avoid conflicting meetings and timezone issues. Most calendar software has a “Find A Time” feature to help with availability, assuming you’re inviting a colleague who uses the same system, such as Gcal.
- Use chat or email to confirm meeting availability before sending invites.
Always have your camera on.
- Find a private and relatively quiet place to attend from.
- For safety’s sake: No driving!
Start on time and end early whenever possible.
- Include 5 minutes for a next-steps discussion at the end of each agenda.
- Use a timer, set it to notify you when the meeting is almost over.
Come prepared, pay attention, and focus on the topic.
- Multi tasking is awesome, but it’s not appropriate for meetings.
- Set your Slack status to indicate that you’re on a call.
- Mute Slack and hide any non-emergency distractions.
Meet with purpose.
- Communicate openly and respectfully.
- Consider all possible outcomes good and bad. However, remember that the devil’s advocate is helpful, but not always fitting or necessary.
- Be prepared to work incrementally toward a goal, don’t expect too much too soon.
REMEMBER THE HUMAN.
- Be professional, expect professionalism from your colleagues.
- Assume everyone means-well. Mean-well yourself.
- Maintain and communicate an appropriate level of urgency, based on the situation.
- Take a break of some kind to clear contention. Return to the conversation after some time away from it. Consider including your manager or a peer to help with the discussion.
Looking at it all together, it’s kind of ridiculous that we don’t all do this kind of stuff by default. However, I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better collaborative meetings work, if you just follow these rules as closely as you can. Your peers should feel prepared, confident, and (importantly) respected, when meeting with you. Ideas will come out quicker and flourish, partly because they’ve had extra time to bake due to the agenda in your invite. Actions will hasten, outcomes will improve. It’s a win win win win.
Now that you’re a pro on this topic, go take a few minutes and tidy up your desk. It is Thursday, after all. Once that’s done, I hope you have a safe, happy, and healthy new year’s eve!
See you again in ’21!