In this guide we'll show you how to make sure your meeting are productive and you get the most value from them. We'll show you the basics of good meeting management and how to use Workflowy to be the most prepared person at any meeting.
Most folks generally don't enjoy meetings and would rather avoid them at all costs. That sentiment likely comes from being in a lot of meetings and coming out of them not having a great deal of clarity about what just happened. In other words, a lot of time was taken up but not a lot really got done. This guide will help combat that feeling by making sure that at least you are prepared and will get the most from that time.
Meetings, like most things in life, benefit greatly from a bit of planning. Once a meeting starts and people start talking, the likelihood of it going off track increases as time goes on. By coming prepared , you'll be armed with the tools to help keep the discussion focused.
What's the topic or theme?
Whenever you're acting as the facilitator of a meeting, coming prepared with an agenda is critical. People will expect you to guide the conversation from theme to theme and make sure the meeting is productive so you have to be ready. You'll want to clearly indicate what the topic or theme of the meeting will be and make sure you invite the correct people.
Who needs to attend?
But in order to do that you have to consider what you'll actually be discussing during the meeting. There's no sense in inviting people that won't be able to contribute and conversely leaving people out whose input you'll need.
So start by filling out our barebones meeting template that will help you figure that out. The template starts out by having you list the main topic and then consider the main types of information you'll be discussing during the meeting. Whether you're leading or just attending, this template will give you enough structure to make sure your meetings go well. This process of gathering and filling out the information you'll need might reveal that this meeting's topics are not going to include the information you're interested in or want to cover. It might also be the case that the wrong people are being invited. By filling out the template you'll know ahead of time if you need to adjust the meeting topic and invitee list. Let's go over the three main types of information you'll want to consider before a meeting - questions, updates, and decisions.
Questions are just that. The meeting is your opportunity to get the information you need to either clarify or understand something from the other folks present. Think about what pieces of information you'll need in the near future or are missing that might keep you from moving forward with your work. Consider who might have the answers to those questions and note their names down in the appropriate section.
Updates are anything you think needs to be communicated to other folks in order for them to be able to do their jobs or that you're expected to share. Again consider who needs to have this information and add them to the list of people that you'll invite.
Decisions are choices you've made or resolutions you've come to need to be shared with other in order to keep whatever process you're all working on going. Make sure to include any people that need to be made aware of these decisions.
Once you've gone through these three types of information and have considered who needs to attend the meeting so the right people will be there to answer questions, provide updates, and be made aware of any decisions, you've got your basic meeting agenda.
During the actual meeting, you'll want to be sure and bring up any questions you've written down, make note of any updates that are related to your work, and capture any tasks you're responsible for.
Write down the information as soon as it's appropriate to do so. the longer you take to write it down, the more likely you are to forget it or miss some other important detail as the meeting goes on. Take this time to ask clarifying questions if the task is unclear.
Turn your tasks into to-do's as soon as you have the written down. This will allow you to quickly search for them later. You can do this by selecting multiple items and choosing 'To-do' from the context menu that pops up, or by opening the bullet menu for an item and choosing 'To-do'. This will not only add a checkbox you can click to cross off, but you'll also be able to search for any uncouple tasks across all your meeting notes using 'is:todo' in the search bar.
You should also consider adding a due date if there is one. You can easily do this by adding a note to an item and then typing the due date. Workflowy will try to guess the date and display a widget with the suggestion. If the suggestion is correct, you can hit Tab on your keyboard to create a date tag. You can then easily search for date tags using natural language like 'this week' or 'this month'.
Finally, if you're leading the meeting or are the person tasked with taking notes, you can create a simple meeting notes item and share that with your team or whoever you're collaborating with.
If you share your meeting notes using the secret link option, the folks you share with do not need to have a Workflow account to view the notes. As an aside, this is a great way to introduce Workflow to your team if you're interested in getting them to try the app out.
And there you have it. With a bit of prep time before your next meeting, you can ensure that the time spent will be fruitful and productive. Be sure to download our meeting template and make your next meeting a great one.
Radical clarity and focus are only a signup away
View the template to copy it and get startedView template