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June 25, 2018

Meeting Agendas: Before and After

As the school year winds to a close for almost all of us, it’s a great time to step back and evaluate your meeting structure for the next academic or fiscal year!

Meetings are not intrinsically evil. But meetings that are not structured to improve results waste everyone’s time. Shelby K., a longtime Together contributor, recently stopped by to upgrade her 1:1 weekly meeting with her manager. Shelby already creates an agenda, which is more than a lot of folks do to prep for check-ins, but she was after something even more structured.

The Before:

Not bad. Shelby took the time to plan ahead, outline details and provide relevant information. But she still thought her meetings could be more productive, so she added a few small upgrades.

The After:

Shelby made some adjustments I really love (including the lovely new font):

  • She created a list of recurring topics to discuss each week, like “Y2 Meeting” and “Electives.” This helps keep priorities front and center, and helps her meeting avoid becoming a reactive list of topics and To-Dos.
  • She added a column for notetaking. This will make it much easier to return to her Action Steps later on.
  • She clarified which items were FYIs vs. Updates vs. Discussion Topics. Again, this helps ensure that Shelby and her manager are communicating, but also staying focused on priorities.

Meeting upgrades don’t have to move mountains. What can you do to adjust your agendas to make sure meetings stay focused on the right stuff?

P.S. I also love this book and this book for leading excellent meetings!

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