Start Early: Meeting Habit Formation for Students - Docket

Start Early: Meeting Habit Formation for Students

As a growing number of students pursue higher education and the labor market expands, the US labor force is projected to increase by 8.5 million people each year, reaching 163.5 million people by 2022. Across every industry there are millions of daily standups, sales pitches, onboardings, and meetings of all kinds. 

With the increased speed of business and the instant gratification that technology provides, efficient meetings are more important now than ever. Between organizational involvement, internships, part-time jobs, classes, and academics – students today have just as many meetings as a full-time working adult, but how can those meetings be leveraged to teach best meeting habits at an early stage? 

Here are 5 ways students can form habits to prepare them for efficient and streamlined meetings.

Take the few minutes to fill out the agenda

Having an agenda can feel rigid and formalized in a school setting, but with the intensity of balancing social, work, and academic life, an agenda relieves the pressure of remembering important items. Taking a few extra minutes to fill out an agenda provides confidence that no important discussion item is forgotten. 

An agenda also aligns meeting attendees with your goals so they are on the same page prior to the start of the discussion and you can spend more time on a constructive conversation than bringing others up to speed. Finally, an agenda also helps plan meetings realistically and prioritize or push items to different meetings if necessary.

Actually be on time

As simple as it sounds, starting a meeting even 2-3 minutes late can cost you precious minutes of productivity. For every minute that a meeting is delayed waiting for a late individual, the likeliness of the meeting running over increases. More importantly the less time you spend in meetings the more time you can spend building relationships, checking items off a to-do list, or delivering on action items. 

The consequences for walking into a large lecture hall late are few to none, but every student understands the pressure to arrive on time for a small group meeting where peers are dependent on your arrival or a small lecture where the instructor may call you out by name. Treating meetings the same way you treat important classes and group sessions is a great way to ensure you are using the hours of the workday to their full potential.

Tip: Setting a deliberate and realistic start and end time to a meeting forms expectations of the meeting length.

Tip: Docket allows you to set duration for each agenda item. Keep an eye on the meeting timer as a sanity check for each section as well as your meeting progression overall.

Take concise but meaningful notes

Meetings should never be overpowered by typing or scrambled note taking, but with the chaos of a student’s life, meeting notes should alleviate the stress of remembering meetings decisions and conversations. Meeting notes can be easily shared across the organization so any relevant individual feels that they were a part of the action. Taking meaningful notes that only convey relevant information leaves more room to remember your finance exam material, a friend’s birthday present, and to call your parents.

Tip: Collaborating on note taking makes the process more thorough and encourages active rather than passive participation.

Assign action items

The days of playing nose-goes to assign action items should remain a nostalgic childhood memory. Clarifying and assigning action items to a specific team or person allows for accountability and better workflow. Everyone remembers a group project where a teammate didn’t pull their weight. By explicitly defining responsibilities, work is split evenly across a team, plays to individuals’ strengths, and is broken into more manageable blocks. This sense of accountability builds the habit of proactively anticipating work and delivering consistently.

Tip: Use an @mention in Docket to assign a task to a meeting attendee. This task then appears in their individualized Task List.

Share recaps promptly

Today’s students are expected to code-switch between school, their job, and a social life by the hour. In between day planners, online notes, and endless adulting to-do lists, it’s easy to forget to share notes or to catch someone up on a missed meeting. Diligently taking notes during a meeting means a recap is ready to share instantaneously with little to no refinement necessary. Sometimes, collecting thoughts and finishing notes after is necessary, even still sharing a recap within 24 hours of a meeting keeps important items top of mind, guarantees appropriate communication amongst peers, and provides the satisfaction of crossing one more task off a day’s checklist.

Students are our future leaders, movers, and shakers of the workforce and they’re ready to take the world by storm. Learning positive meeting habits early on guarantees more doing and lets them make meetings awesome!

About the Author

Heather Hansson

Heather is VP of Product and Chief of Staff at Docket. She enjoys leading cross-functional teams to work together on vision, strategy, and implementing solutions that help people work and live better. When she isn’t helping rid the world of wasteful meetings with Docket, Heather likes to run, take violin lessons with her son, and spend time with her family.

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