It's a typical Monday morning in corporate America. You grab a cup of coffee and head to your desk to login for the day. You glance over your inbox to see if there is anything time sensitive before opening up your calendar to see what meetings are on the agenda. And as usual, it's back to back meetings. You have a meeting with one of your vendors at ten to discuss supply issues. A marketing meeting at eleven to go over the new ad creatives. A 1-on-1 with a key team member at noon....and so on and so forth. You are so booked in fact, that you may have to turn your one o'clock into a working lunch. So all in all a typical Monday.
The only thing worse than spending all your time in meetings is realizing that at the end of the day those meetings didn't really produce a lot of value for your business or your team. There was a lot of discussion, a few takeaways but ultimately you will end up meeting again in a few days to go over the same material you just went over with very little forward momentum.
Sound familiar? If so, I wanted to share with you the one simple habit that will help you get the most out of every single meeting you ever host or attend.
Get it in writing.
You just had a great face to face (or Zoom call), and you have about five minutes before the end of the meeting. What you do in that five minutes can make the difference between a wasted meeting and a super successful one.
Each and every time I end a meeting, I will say the following:
"So summing up, I've got three action items here. Item one... item two... and item three..." and then wait for confirmation from the others in the meeting. I will also outline who owns each of those action items for further clarification. I will then write it in my notebook and follow up with an email summing up what the action items were from our meeting together.
And I do this every single time I run a meeting. When your team sees you consistently sum up and write down action steps and who owns them (and by when) after every meeting you'll be amazed at how quickly they will raise their game and start to follow the same behavior. Not only will this habit make it so much easier to circle back with your team, but will also help keep forward momentum for your next meeting if necessary.
When there are no action items.
This simple habit will help you gain more value and momentum from each and every meeting that you attend. It will also shine a light on the meetings that come up with no action items at the end of the session. Because chances are that if a meeting comes up with no actionable next steps, it is likely not worth the time to meet on the topic. While this isn't always the case, writing down your action items will help shine a light on these meetings and possibly eliminate future meetings that don't bring value to your business.
Which could help you eliminate some of those meetings all together and free up more time to work on your business.