By Christy Nelson
Streamline your meetings: communicate purpose, send agenda and materials beforehand, schedule how long each topic can be discussed, and stick to it.
What becomes a 30- or 60-minute meeting by default could be 20 or 45 with planning.
How to do this?
- Determine the purpose of the meeting. Do you need awareness? Information? A decision? Write out the meeting purpose and send it in your meeting invitation. Start your calls by verbally stating the meeting purpose.
- Create an agenda. Think of the key points to discuss and what’s needed for each point (e.g. decision, awareness, action).
- Time box all of it. Don’t be afraid to get this wrong. Put length of time next to each agenda item. Ask for a timekeeper on the call if needed, who is willing to say when you have 5 min and then 1 min left, and then time out. You can always make a new call for just the people who need to hash out details if a topic is bigger than anticipated.
- Write a decision record and email it to everyone. I’m not talking about meeting minutes. Pandemic or not, no one has time to read meeting minutes. I’m talking about a record that lists: attendance (who attended v invited), decisions made, actions identified including action owner, and date due. (Word of wisdom: avoid naming a decision maker when it’s a group decision. Trust me on this one; you’ll get better participation). Send this record within a day of your meeting. Mine usually say “reply all with corrections or additions by X date; otherwise this is the official record.”
- If there is material to present or share, send it out the day before and request people pre-read to come prepared. I’ve heard of meetings where attendees don’t get to speak if they haven’t done the pre-reading.
See if the list above can help you streamline your calls and give you a bit more time for family, pets, deep cleansing breaths, and getting other work done.
Want more top tips for virtual teams working from home? Start with Part 1
Christy Nelson has 25 years’ experience in IT program and project management, leading globally distributed teams. She has been working from home since 1999 when you needed 2 phone lines to support a dial-up modem and a phone call at the same time. She works for one of the big 5 consulting companies.
Questions about how RIDG can help you manage or scale your newly-remote teams? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.