Key Highlights

  • Meeting is not the goal – producing better outcomes is
  • If meeting is essential, plan it
  • Utilize alternatives to offer everyone’s time and schedules more flexibility

Solving Problems and Accomplishing Objectives Are The Goals of Meetings and Listing Presentations

If we’ve learned anything this past year, meetings just to meet are not essential.  Accomplishing objectives, solving problems and refining outcomes are.

Every meeting (we’re including listing presentations under the heading of “meeting” here) needs a clear objective.  If you can’t define an objective, forget meeting.  Figure out what you hope to achieve by bringing people together around this one objective.  Also, even if this is a recurrent meeting, figure out who needs to be at the meeting in order to accomplish the objective or solve the problem or refine the outcome…likely, not everyone.

Consider and Utilize Other Tools in Your Toolbox to Get Things Done

Your clients, your colleagues, your teammates and your entire staff will more than welcome any flexibility you give them in helping to accomplish objectives and solve problems.  Give them that time flexibility so they can shape their ideas and better articulate them.

You can still put a deadline on people providing you with their feedback and brainstorming.  Just give them some trust and room to contribute and collaborate with tools such as shared documents, Slack, must-see information and or live Q&A via email and even, gasp!, a quick phone call.

Advanced Planning for a Meeting is Essential

Make sure everyone knows the purpose of the meeting.  Identify specific aims.  Use goal-oriented language such as define, determine, decide and approve.  Avoid language such as discuss, talk about, kick around ideas, etc.  (Save those words for your social get-togethers.)

Agendas Are Everyone’s Friends

Know that agendas are friends to everyone being invited to attend the meeting.  Agendas communicate the purpose of the meeting…what it is that is to be accomplished, everyone’s roles and responsibilities in accomplishing that purpose, and agendas value everyone’s time.

For every item on the agenda, indicate a specific length of time for discussion.  If someone other than you is to be responsible to present an item, make sure the person knows that she/he is responsible and that the person prepares his/her presentation before, not during, the meeting.

Create and distribute the agenda in advance of the meeting, if only an hour before.  Send out an agenda that includes what you want to achieve at the meeting plus any helpful/necessary information and/or reading materials before the meeting.  Everyone attending the meeting should have read all of those items before coming to the meeting.

Refresh Your Good Hosting Skills – Reread Tim and Julie’s Becoming Remotely Successful Guide.

Use the camera and your calm voice effectively to encourage others to feel comfortable in asking questions and/or making comments.

Be in the meeting.  No multi-tasking.


Thanks to Becoming Remotely Successful, National Public Radio and the Harvard Business Review.


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