Tips and tricks for meetings

Tips and tricks for meetings
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Meetings are time-consuming and often frustrating - especially if there is not much outcome. Here are some tips and tricks I came across in the last years that may help you getting more efficient.

Respect the meeting etiquette

  • Be on time
  • No distracting electronic devices (smartphones, notebooks, etc.)
    • Use pen and paper for notes and have them with you in every meeting
  • Listen, don’t interrupt others and be nice (talk less, take notes)
  • Clean up after yourself - don’t leave stuff in the room
  • Don’t be a robot - rules and discipline are good, but don’t exaggerate

Before planning the meeting

  • Prevent meetings whenever possible
  • Don’t plan meetings longer than 2 hours, better 1 hour or less
  • Invite only people, that have to be there and really have to say something
  • Set a single main topic and max. 3 goals per hour BEFORE inviting anyone
    • An agenda is good, but not enough, because it does not contain explicit goals - meet to achieve something
  • Prepare yourself at least 10 minutes directly BEFORE the meeting
    • That probably means, that 2 meetings in a row are not a good idea

Beginning of the meeting

  • Use a visual timer or clock to remind you 10 minutes before the meeting ends
  • Note the goals on a board for everyone
  • Ask the audience, what they expect
    • Complete / adjust the goals if necessary
  • Revalidate the conclusions / measures of the last meeting, if it is a follow-up
    • Did you complete your tasks?
    • Did it work / help?

During the meeting

  • Have a five-minute break every hour
  • At halftime, revalidate the so far achieved goals
  • (Re-)focus and show discipline

At the end of the meeting

  • Take the last 5-10 minutes to verify the goals have been achieved
  • Commit to measurable tasks, that have
    • a due date
    • at least one responsible person
  • Don’t exceed the time limit (not even 5 minutes)
  • If you finish earlier, leave earlier! Don’t smalltalk or switch the topic…

After the meeting

  • Give a SHORT summary of the tasks to everyone, who may care
    • emails are easy to lookup and accessible
  • Complete your personal tasks as soon as possible or at least schedule them
  • Focus on your daily work again
Andreas Fuhrich avatar
About Andreas Fuhrich
I’m a professional software developer and tech enthusiast from Germany. On this website I share my personal notes and side project details. If you like it, you could support me on github - if not, feel free to file an issue :-)