I Love a Good Meeting, and This is Why (or, 6 Musts for a Productive Meeting)

First thing’s first… Our CMO, Jackie Yeaney, posted this fantastic blog post on Fast Company, and I couldn’t agree more. All signs for me point to Meeting Maestro. Have you figured out what kind of meeting personality you are?

Do you love meetings? I love meetings. Let me tell you why.

  • I live in San Francisco. My teams are in Georgia, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, New Jersey, and all over Europe and Asia Pac. Virtual communication – email, chat, sms, web and audio meetings are my primary form of communication with my peers.
  • You can’t get stuff done alone, not in the wonderfully global and geographically dispersed organizations we work in today. We have become experts in collaborating, sharing ideas, listening and learning from each other.
  • 45 minutes of a well organized audio and/or web meeting returns exponentially what you will get out of a 4-day long email thread between 5 people.
  • Virtual collaboration today allows you to whiteboard with the same level of meaningfulness that you would have gotten out of being in the same room
  • I don’t have to fly 5 hours one way to go to work
  • Virtual meetings have gotten to a point technologically where you can leverage the medium to truly connect with your peers. This is a big one.

The caveat to loving meetings is that they need to have some semblance of structure. These are the main aspects of a meeting that I find necessary to bring everyone together into the same mindset. If the mindsets aren’t there, your meeting will not be successful.

  1. State the purpose of your meeting. Are you trying to answer a specific question? Are you planning for an event? Are you walking through a draft proposal? Are you presenting a new solution to a prospective sale? State explicitly why everyone is taking time out of their day to meet with you.
  2. Put an agenda in your meeting invite and add any attachments that should be reviewed in advance. Give your peers the tools they need to come prepared. Not doing so means you will have 15 less minutes to move forward.
  3. Send a reminder the day before to review and come prepared. Make sure this is an informational reminder only so your peers don’t have to “accept” a second time.
  4. Get the right people involved. A meeting without the right stakeholder can end the call.
  5. Moderate, don’t overpower. The idea of a meeting is to bring people together to collaborate to move forward, so provide a medium for everyone to participate.
  6. Send follow-up action items in a email to the team. Make the team accountable for what they agreed to and follow-up.

Try it out on your next meeting. This, of course, requires you to be more organized as well. Are you up for the challenge?
Previously posted on Dec 4, 2009


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