Is This Meeting a Must?

June 23, 2021
Read time: 3 mins

Does the word meeting make you feel a little tense? Like you have a million things to do, and another meeting is going to take away a precious hour of your day — the one hour you thought you could actually get work done? 

Virtual Meeting

In today’s virtual work world, we are all aware that having a meeting is a process that takes time and effort. In the old days (aka 2019), you could see a coworker in the hallway and have an impromptu chat or walk down to the lunchroom and find someone to bounce a question off of. That is not always the case anymore.

So, before setting up a meeting, step back and think about if it must happen. Can it be a phone call or an email? If not, prepare for an effective meeting that makes the most of everyone’s time.

To plan a meeting, a bunch of things need to happen: 

  • Decide who should be there. Invite those who need to contribute during the meeting. Those who need to know the outcomes can read the meeting notes. 
  • Find a time that works with everyone's schedule, which can sometimes turn out to be way harder than anything else you will do that day.
  • Invite everyone to your meeting.
  • Create an agenda making sure it uses action verbs. For example, do not list – Budget. Instead, put - Discuss budget limits to prevent overspending
  • Finally, send it out to the attendees. Phew… and that is all before the meeting even happens!

Now, some tips on how to run an effective virtual meeting:

  • Be specific. Communicate clearly, so people know what to do and expect. 
  • Provide meeting notes to all attendees and to anyone who needs to know what took place. 
  • Store the notes and minutes to be accessible to meeting-goers. 
  • Assign roles in meetings. Someone needs to be:
    • The timekeeper (Makes sure the meeting starts and stops on time).
    • The notetaker. (Tip: The facilitator should not be this person).
    • The idea maker. (Helps to keep the ideas flowing).
  • Follow up with those who have action items to make sure they are clear on roles and responsibilities.

Also, consider having your team set ground rules and incorporate them into your meetings. How do you want meeting participants to behave and contribute? Think about:

  • Requesting all attendees to turn on their video cameras.
  • Before speaking, meeting-goers should raise a hand physically or click on the raise hand icon.
  • Asking participants to close out of all other apps, email, and silence their phones. 
  • Agreeing on post-meeting protocols, like make a phone call if a specific answer is needed. Information sharing goes in an email to the group.

Having to attend a ton of meetings can be tough, whether in-person or virtual. Make the most of everyone’s time by making sure your meetings are a must.