We spend a significant amount of our working lives in meetings, and for good reason. Whether you’re capturing ideas, making decisions or managing progress, it’s important your meetings are run efficiently from start to finish, including the follow up.
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Post-meeting actions are vital. You’ve put the work in during the meeting and now you must follow it up to make sure all those great ideas and decisions are taken to the next stage. This is particularly important after project planning meetings (read more on what it takes to plan an effective meeting in the ebook Mission Controlled: 5 step guide to planning projects).
But it’s not always this easy. We have three simple steps to ensure your meetings don’t lose momentum:
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1. Agree Before you Leave
There’s bound to be an influx of different opinions and ideas during meetings, but what’s important is that an agreement is made before the meeting ends. After all, it’s all about coming to a decision best for the project or company.
According Robert C. Pozen, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, there are questions that should be asked at the end of each meeting:
What do we see as the next steps?
Who should take responsibility for them?
And what should the time frame be?
Any conflict of decisions or resource allocation can be resolved during these questions and you should make sure everyone knows exactly what is expected of them following the meeting.
Being aware of the next steps will drive the project flowing and ensure you don’t lose any momentum following a really productive meeting.
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2. Always Communicate
You’ve left your meeting with plenty of ideas, and allocated actions to be completed for the next meeting. Great. Surely those with the allocated tasks will remember, right?
It’s easy for tasks to be forgotten that were only verbally agreed. A member of the team should record the tasks and communicate them to the full team by email, following the meeting.
By interacting just after the meeting, as well as before the next, you’re opening up a channel of communication for the team to discuss any concerns or updates. This will have a positive impact on your next get-together.
A major part of post-meeting productivity includes communicating the agreed actions and outcomes with the rest of the team. Without this, the momentum you’ve build up in your meeting has been lost.
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3. Own It
Everyone has an important part to play in the meeting, before, during and after. Especially when you’ve been assigned tasks.
Uncompleted actions following a meeting can really harm the momentum and disrupt not only the meeting, but the project too.
If you’re allocated a task you don’t think you’re able to complete on time or to your best ability, it’s important to communicate this before the task is due. After all, there may be someone else on the team able pick it up. It’s a team effort remember.
Otherwise, it’s up to you to take full control of your task and deliver it not only on time but to the standard required.
About the Author: Jamie MacDonald is Head of Client Development at MindGenius. MindGenius is a visual project planning tool that helps professionals around the world to achieve more. MindGenius enhances and complements the productivity tools that project managers use every day.