Have you ever been in a meeting and thought, “We already talked about this!!” It’s a common feeling across many organizations as meeting effectiveness seems to be at an all time low.
So often we go to the same meetings, read variations of the same emails, or read emails that ask the same questions that were just covered in a meeting we just had.
While there are many reasons why this could happen, one of the big ones is poor communication. By not communicating well, people feel uncomfortable with their lack of information and feel the need to communicate (or be communicated to) more.
This need creates more meetings, as people want to gather the latest on a topic or topics. If the people out of the loop aren’t calling more meetings, they are sending emails or Slack messages about the same topics, asking the same questions, and covering the same talking points over and over which isn’t efficient by any means.
What can you do to improve your communication so you don’t have dejavú when attending meetings?
- Be thoughtful about who you invite to meetings. Invite the people that need to know the information you’re sharing.
- If someone is too busy, invite them as optional and call it out in the invite.
- Have an agenda for your meeting. Clearly identify –
- Talking points
- Decisions that need to be made
- Other desired outcomes of the meeting
- Make sure to take good meeting notes. If you are presenting in the meeting, assign (or ask) someone else to take notes. Make sure notes include-
- Attendees of the meeting
- Any decisions made in the meeting
- Action items and the owner of those action items
- Follow up items that didn’t get resolved (for future meeting agendas)
- Keep the language in your notes as simple as possible. Avoid using buzzwords or cliches as much as possible. Only use acronyms if you first define them.
- Send out the notes after each meeting. Ensure the above bullet points are clearly called out in the notes.
By improving the communication before and after your meeting, you’ll improve your meeting effectiveness and make people feel better about being informed which will reduce the desire others feel to have more meetings and send more emails.
Now, be sure to do something useful with your extra time and don’t just spend it surfing social media!
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