Startup Basics: 5 Steps for Productive Meetings

Startup Basics: 5 Steps for Productive Meetings

I’ve noticed a meeting anti-pattern and I need to get it off my chest! It’s when a meeting chair hasn’t set their meeting up for success.

Thoroughly preparing for a meeting conveys respect for a teammates time.   Here are some maxims that I’ve adapted to my own flavor of meeting logistics:

1. The best meeting is no meeting

If you can resolve the question via email or via a 10 minute phone conversation, do that instead.

2. Have a clear objective

And the ability to meet it.  That means have an agenda and have the resources and prep work done to achieve the objective. Enforce the centricity of the objective if and when attendees deviate from it.

3. Fit your calendar to your agenda, not visa versa.

There’s no reason to subject your teammates to a meeting that is longer than is needed to reach an objective.

Start on time.  And please please, end at the 25 minute or 50 minute mark if you do have a meeting that happens to fit into a half hour or hour.  Give your attendees some time to grab coffee, hit the bathroom, or prep for their next calendar item if they have another meeting right after yours.

4. Attention to detail in prep.

Check your attendee’s calendars for conflicts before you reserve their time. Check the conference rooms for availability beforehand. Check resources, like projectors or computers, out beforehand.  And have them set up before your attendees arrive.  Only invite people who need to be there, and if someone is  truly optional, mark them as optional.

If you want attendees to read something before the meeting, send it out the day before the meeting.

5. End with Action Items

Keep track of action items as the meeting goes on.  Any action items and assignees should be explicitly revisited at the end of the meeting so that everyone knows what their responsibilities are explicitly.

What meeting rules are your favorite?  Any that were missed?  Tell me on twitter.


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