To Do Meetings Well

Meeting expectations and exceeding them

If you organize a meeting

  1. Decide if this has to be a meeting. Alternatives include conversation threads in a public channel or a series of voice messages. I find that most logistical work is best coordinated asynchronously, but generative, idea based discussions warrant meetings.
  2. Find time with as little back and forth as possible. Check their calendars, provide available windows, etc.
  3. Send an invite early. Double check all information is included and accurate. Important information includes: Date, time, location, and agenda.
    • If online, check to make sure a video conference link is included and actually scheduled for the right time
    • If necessary, make it known what preparation each attendee should do in advance
  4. Show up for the meeting a few minutes before the start time.
  5. If helpful, record the meeting for documentation. A Loom or Zoom recording can often be more helpful than notes, especially for more nuanced discussions.
  6. Create a notes template and appoint someone to document during the meeting.
  7. Let the first few minutes be casual and fun. The rest will go much more smoothly because of this.
  8. Before diving into content, mention what is to be communicated, decided, or accomplished by the end.
  9. Back-channel using a different method during the meeting to push certain people to step in or voice their opinions
  10. Make forward progress. If information is lacking, reschedule.
  11. At the end of the meeting, everyone should know what has been communicated, what has been decided, and the action items.
  12. Later, distribute action items with timelines to attendees.
  13. Stay a few moments after to debrief

If you are attending a meeting

  1. Pre-emptively ask a few questions. Eg. Do you need to be there? Is there someone that should be there that is missing?
  2. Come prepared. Do the appropriate readings, get a hold of the necessary information to make decisions.
  3. Take notes.
  4. Participate. Like actually. It's very easy not to. A heuristic I like for whether you have participated is whether you have questions or curiosities at the end.
  5. Keep track of action items.
  6. If appropriate, thank them for organizing! Either that, or follow up with people about interesting comments
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