Meetings are an important aspect of professional jobs and quite frequently regular meetings are scheduled with a particular client, customer or team. However, when meetings are regularly held it is all too easy to have boring and unproductive meetings. It is important to set an agenda, stick to the agenda and do the necessary follow-up work.
So how do you have more productive meetings when you are not the one in control?
1. Prepare for the Meeting
Prepare for the meeting by reviewing the agenda beforehand. Usually, an agenda will be circulated to the attendees in advance of the meeting. If this is not done on a regular basis mention this to the person calling the meeting (or their PA) and see if you can get an agenda 24 hours in advance’ routine in place. This benefits all attendees and allows time to do any necessary prep work and gives you time to consider any other business that could be appropriately dealt with at the meeting.
2. Arrive on Time and Stick to the Agenda
Meetings should start on time to not waste time. As an attendee try to arrive promptly and actively contribute where possible to keep the flow of meeting progressing.
3. Take Notes
This is part of actively contributing. Be alert and make concise and relevant notes.
4. Confirm action points
Confirm action points during the meeting. On the action points page of the monthly meetings notebook, I keep track of follow-up actions that are prompted by the meeting. If there is a deadline or a prerequisite action these should be noted as well and checked off when completed. I use this in conjunction with the calendar pages to plan my time. Be clear about your role and your objectives.
5. Only ask questions that need to be dealt with at the meeting
(and are a good use of everyone’s time).