Meeting Best Practices - Docket

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“Docket has quickly become essential to doing our best work at Studio Science. Meetings are critically important to the services we provide clients, and having a platform dedicated to making meetings more effective, collaborative, and structured is game changing.”

Steve Pruden, CEO at Studio Science

“Docket helps us build better agendas, easily share notes, and follow up on action items. We have noticed our meetings have better preparation and follow through since partnering with Docket.”

Roger Deetz, VP of Engineering at Springbuk

Meeting Best Practices

We spend our day in meetings and hope for them to cancel or run short when we truly need meetings to get things done. Meeting waste has cost businesses in the US and UK over $34 billion which has increased 46% since 2015 despite the technology advances and awareness. Instead of hating and removing meetings from the equation, we should be embracing meeting best practices and turning to effective meeting strategies so we can make better use of our time with others. Effective meetings guidelines can be found everywhere from effective meetings pdf to how to run a meeting pdf as well as many versions of 7 habits of highly effective meetings but look no further for an A to Z list of best practices for productive meetings.

Agenda

Every meeting should have an agenda that is the meeting’s plan, strategy, guide, and map of what needs to be accomplished. Whether it is a meeting for a customer which needs a client meeting agenda or client relationship meeting agenda, or an internal meeting that requires more of a weekly team meeting agenda template, topics for team meetings at work should be organized and prioritized in advance of a meeting so guests can review and prepare for the topics being discussed.

Be Present

If the meeting is local, forego the phone or video call and join the meeting directly. From a first meeting with prospective clients to an organizational meeting, effective business meetings require the best possible communication which is hands down, in-person. Trying to find a way on how to improve staff meetings? Bring everyone together and encourage those who cannot to share their video to make it as personal as possible.

Collaborate

Collaboration is an important element in meeting best practices to ensure everyone is participating to the best of their ability. A great way to encourage customer collaboration is to provide first client meeting questions in advance of the meeting that they can answer and review during the session. And for internal meetings, successful staff meetings can include collaboration through use of a weekly staff meeting agenda template that the team can prepare prior to any meeting.

Decline 

We are so consumed with not wanting to offend, we keep meetings on our calendar when we don’t understand the purpose or why we were invited. Do not be afraid to ask for an agenda and if one cannot be procured, simply decline the meeting. Successful bosses run their most effective meetings exactly like this and sometimes even build this rule into their department’s meeting procedure guidelines. 

Educate and Empower 

We should never assume our team members, teammates, and clients understand how to conduct a meeting step by step. In order to understand how to lead a meeting effectively, one must truly have practice in learning how to run a meeting. Work together to create and define an effective meeting strategies pdf or effective meetings guidelines ppt that can be shared among your team and rotate responsibility to those who do not typically get to lead so they can put these guidelines into practice.

Follow (and Stick to) Agendas and Recaps

If you don’t follow the map, you might not reach your destination. When an agenda is provided, make sure you have business meeting protocol in place that makes it clear that staff meeting topics or other agenda items are followed as planned to ensure topics are covered adequately within the time allotted. 

Give Attention

Want to know how to run a meeting like a boss? Put greater focus on those on phone or video than those in the room. Why? Because being in the room offers a communication disadvantage not only during the meeting but before and after as well. And when it comes to client meeting etiquette, make sure there is plenty of time for the client to share, provide feedback, and ask questions. 

Holiday Planning 

One of the best ways we should be conducting effective meetings is to help people plan ahead! Holidays encourage poor meeting habits when meeting organizers and guests do not plan ahead to block their calendars and requests shifts in meetings to ensure business can still go on. Remind staff and clients of the adjusted schedule weeks in advance before calendars fill up and to find the best time for everyone to meet.

Internet Issues 

No matter how prepared we are with our strategies for leading effective meetings or our client meeting best practices, the internet can be our worst enemy. Always come with a backup plan to demo a product or to take notes so that technology does not keep you from making progress.

Jury Duty 

is not a reason to spring a meeting cancelation on others when you have been notified in advance you may be called for your civic duty. Ensure that staff meeting best practices include a process to notify meeting organizers when a guest cannot attend a meeting as far in advance as possible so other arrangements can be made whether a meeting shift or sending another person to represent at the meeting.

Keep An Eye On The Time

One of the best leading a meeting techniques is making sure to start every meeting on time as well as end it on time. In “Why Starting Meetings On Time Saves Money,” Cameron Herold states it this way.Like the Olympic swimmer, it’s impossible to perform at a high level if you arrive when the gun goes off—that is, when the meeting starts.” Make sure your meeting software like Docket has a subtle yet clear meeting timer to keep everyone on time and dismiss early to ensure everyone gets to their next meeting on time.

Late Is Expensive

Just as shared above, starting on time and ending on time is critical. Want to quantify this? Try this meeting cost estimate calculator

Micro Meeting

Turn long meetings with a large agenda to micro meetings to create a more focused approach with the right people in the room.

No 

Learn to say, “no” when an agenda is not provided and when staff meeting topics overload an agenda. Find ways to ensure that planning is done in advance and prioritizing becomes a natural process so that small chunks of work can be addressed and moved forward.

Organizational Meetings

For anyone learning how to run a business meeting, organizational meetings can seem like a huge responsibility but they are a great way to bring your team together. Get organized with a meeting guidelines template or expand on your staff meeting best practices to ensure a solid plan for the agenda, collaboration, and participation in the meeting.

Poll For Priorities

Work with meeting guests in advance of a meeting to not only find out what topics are of interest for a meeting but also what priority order they should fall. If you do not agree with the priority, it is a great way to open dialogue and understand how everyone can be better aligned on priorities. 

Quickly Recap Decisions

While running a team or client meeting, training participants in good meeting behaviors is as simple as including time for it in your agenda! Save time at the end to run through decisions and actions to ensure alignment. When learning how to run a customer meeting, customers love to hear this verbal recap because they feel heard and have greater confidence in a solution.

Review 

At the start of a recurring meeting, take the time to briefly review the previous meeting. When learning how to run a business meeting, Robert’s Rules provides guidance for tabling issues that could not be resolved so taking the time in the next meeting can ensure topics are not missed.

Share Agendas and Recaps 

Only 37% of meetings in the US use agendas so it is no wonder most people do not feel meetings meet their goals when there were no goals to begin with. Share agendas in advance so guests know if it is important for them to attend and how they can best prepare. Follow up after with shared recaps to align on topics and decisions.

Tasks 

Take time during the meeting to document and assign tasks to an owner with an agreed upon due date which provides an open path of transparency and accountability as well as an audience to handle any clarifying questions.

Use Guests to Scribe

Want to know how to make staff meetings more engaging? Provide or collaboratively build a staff meeting template that the team feels comfortable sharing and enable them to take notes that can be shared among the team.

Video 

When you cannot be physically present in a meeting, make the effort to use your video to make your presence personal. It is easier to engage with someone when you can see their face and know how they are responding.

Whiteboarding

Whiteboarding enables creativity in thinking and contains critical information that shows problem solving, ideas, and other important visuals to help solve problems and build solutions. Any whiteboarding done in a meeting should be archived with the meeting file as a resource. 

Xenial Hosts

Ensure someone is on point to host the meeting so that they can set the tone, agenda, and provide direction to keep the meeting on track.

You Cannot Multitask

73% of people focus on other things during meetings and according to a neuroscience professor at MIT, what we perceive as multitasking is actually rapid content switching but makes us slower to achieve our goals in the end. 

Zoom

Use video conferencing software like Zoom that provides flexibility and consistency so that your guests can quickly and easily access the meeting with as little friction and delay as possible.