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To Do Meetings Well
Meeting expectations and exceeding them
If you organize a meeting
- 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.
- Find time with as little back and forth as possible. Check their calendars, provide available windows, etc.
- 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
- Show up for the meeting a few minutes before the start time.
- If helpful, record the meeting for documentation. A Loom or Zoom recording can often be more helpful than notes, especially for more nuanced discussions.
- Create a notes template and appoint someone to document during the meeting.
- Let the first few minutes be casual and fun. The rest will go much more smoothly because of this.
- Before diving into content, mention what is to be communicated, decided, or accomplished by the end.
- Backchannel using a different method during the meeting to push certain people to step in or voice their opinions
- Make forward progress. If information is lacking, reschedule.
- At the end of the meeting, everyone should know what has been communicated, what has been decided, and the action items.
- Later, distribute action items with timelines to attendees.
- Stay a few moments after to debrief
If you are attending a meeting
- Pre-emptively ask a few questions. Eg. Do you need to be there? Is there someone that should be there that is missing?
- Come prepared. Do the appropriate readings, get a hold of the necessary information to make decisions.
- Take notes.
- Participate. Like actually. It's very easy not to. A heuristic I like for whether you have participated is whether you have questions or curiousities at the end.
- Keep track of action items.
- If appropriate, thank them for organizing! Either that, or follow up with people about interesting comments