Monday Mornings with Madison



For the last two weeks, we’ve been examining meeting best practices to ensure we make the most of time spent at business gatherings  In the last two weeks, you’ve probably attended at least one meeting… perhaps even a few.  If you were running the meeting, did you make sure to only invite those that needed to attend, set it at a convenient time and place, and then prepare and distribute an agenda prior to the meeting?   If you were attending the meeting, did you review the meeting agenda and ensure you were fully prepared to contribute to the meeting?

On meeting day, did you have the materials you needed to ensure you were productive?  Did you arrive on time?  Did you pay attention and take notes?  Were next steps and deadlines assigned?  If so, then you are well on your way to making the most of that meeting time.  But meeting productivity does not end there.  What you do after the meeting is as critical – if not more critical – than what you did before and during the meeting.  As the saying goes, that is where the rubber meets the road. 

Here are some guidelines to ensure that the meeting goals are met and the desired results are achieved.  

Take a two-minute breather.
Everyone should have a chance to unwind.  This is especially true if meeting points were contentious.  The extra minutes of camaraderie allows time to bandage emotional scrapes that might have occurred and allows everyone some moments to calm down.  This helps keep anyone from leaving the room upset and sharing otherwise confidential information.

Handle any two-minute tasks.
Do any Next Steps that take less than two minutes.  Make calls.  Write brief memos.  Forward documents.  Email notes.  Send a message to a coworker or assistant.  Some Next Steps can even be completed before you leave the room.

Update your To Do List.
Defer all steps that take longer than two minutes.  Place those on your To Do List.  In OneNote, with just a few clicks, remaining Next Steps can be added to Outlook as well.  Place any Next Steps that are time-sensitive on your calendar.

Update your meeting file
Update your meeting file now while the meeting — and its decisions, interpersonal interactions, emotional outbursts, personal comments, non-verbal signals, etc. — are still fresh.  This will allow you to leave with all your information in your system.  You can relax knowing nothing will be forgotten and things are underway. 

These simple rules can go a long way in making meetings more productive. Implementing them is not always easy, as they require preparation and discipline, but doing so can make a huge difference to the productivity of your organization.

“If Columbus had an Advisory Committee, he would probably still be at the dock.” Arthur Goldberg

© 2010 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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