Believe it or not, companies lose a lot of money and time due to unsuccessful meetings. Here are some pointers to help streamline your team's productivity.

What Factors Make Up a Good Meeting?

You know you've successfully organized a meeting when the members present understand the problem (or opportunity) you've presented, they've shown support to your initiative by offering a commitment of some sort, and understand what they are supposed to do next and by when.

A commitment can come in many shapes and sizes but within a work context, it either means dedicated time to research or complete a task. It can also mean securing time or resources to accomplish a set scope of work. Resources can range from department funds to someone's skill. For example, if you need a graphic designer, copywriter or iOS developer to dedicate their time and skill on an initiative, then that's the commitment. Ask your team members to claim their tasks and priorities so that everyone is on the same page on what has to be accomplished.

Tactical Tips on Running a Successful Meeting

Pick a Date + Time

Pick one date. Pick one time. It shows clarity and authority.

Before the Meeting

Create and distribute an agenda beforehand. Always always always have an agenda. It shows respect.

Pick Someone to Drive the Meeting Agenda

Make sure someone in every meeting is picked to take notes. Note taking is somewhat of an art but when in doubt, every meeting should have these 4 elements: 1) A paragraph providing context of the meeting, 2) A list of Key Points made from the various members present, 3) A list of Action Items with next steps and names of people who are assigned the task and 4) (optional) A timeframe as to when the next meeting should happen. This ensures that momentum continues.

Picking a Tool for Group Meetings

  • Google Drive or Quip is great for creating and distributing agendas and meeting notes.
  • At Amazon, Microsoft Word is the preferred tool for final documents often sent to leadership or distributed across the organization. Don't forget to include Numbered Lines so that leadership can quickly reference specific points.

Why is PowerPoint such a Terrible Tool for Meetings?

PowerPoint was designed for mass distribution therefore it makes little sense to use the tool if you are only communicating with small group offices of less than 50 people.

PowerPoint often gets cluttered with other non essential information such as graphics, animations, videos and other elements that would be better off just including in the writing itself.

PowerPoint is optimized for one-way communication. It often requires someone to present the deck and information therefore forcing the consumer to both listen to the speaker and read the information. This cognitive overload means that oftentimes, information is not well understood or comprehended. In contrast, a written paper takes the power away from the presenter and give it back to the reader. If the reader misunderstands something, more often than not, it's because the author did not explain it well.