Meetings are set up to discuss important topics, and to make compelling decisions. Contrary to popular belief, most of your efforts should translate into preparing, rather than having the meeting. Without good prepping, meetings are worthless and the organisation will suffer from bad rulings and a lack of control. And, of course, this also applies to any gatherings you experience as a student with work groups and committees.
First off: don’t let the Harvey Specters of this world (Suits, anyone?) dominate the meeting with their ego, because your (and their) energy should be directed to the goal(s) of that particular meeting. Secondly, everyone needs to be aware of those specific objectives. If you don’t know exactly where you need to end up at the end of the day, how can you walk in the right direction? And thirdly, when leaving, all attendees should know what has to be done, why and when it has to be done, and by whom it has to be done.
So, how do you maximize the efficiency of your meetings? And YES, there is definitely an app for that.
Apps to use during a meeting
Before the Meeting
A lot of meetings start of a stretched out ‘introduction’ phase, with announcements. This usually takes too much time, considering it’s 2016 and we have many means of communication to convey announcements before the meeting even takes place. Use, for instance Slack, which is kind a WhatsApp for business purposes available for multiple platforms. You can create different channels per meeting topic and just skip all of the announcement in the meeting. No one should schedule a meeting just to update others.
During the Meeting
There are many apps available, but we are definitely enthused by Minute. The most basic version is free, which is always a plus, contains to-do lists, and connects to other apps like Dropbox and Evernote. Not to mention that it’s very user-friendly. Even we from Vergaderverkalking, who are not very tech-savvy at all, managed to master this little helper. That’s why we are convinced that you will be also able to set up your first meeting in Minutes. Then, during the meeting, the planning tool will help you maintain focus. Make sure to move the meeting’s announcements and organize them in a different way, e.g. via Slack.
During the meeting, it’s pretty standard to keep track of a to-do list in Word for after the meeting. This is seriously soooo inefficient. To-do lists should be kept in a dedicated To-Do App. We’d recommend Wunderlist that allows you to share projects and action lists with your team members, and works also on all major platforms. But you could also use other tools like e.g. Trello, which is a more visual alternative used by TheAMS team.
It doesn’t matter which concrete app you’re ending up with, as long as you and your team agree upon the same set of time savers. Many of these productivity solutions are available online and on multiple platforms, which is leading to the huge benefit that you’re able to access those action plans and to-dos anywhere, anytime. When it’s this easy, you’ll actually notice that the chances of you executing those points increase a lot.
You’ll probably encounter regrettable meetings throughout your whole career. So why not make it a little easier on yourself with these tips?