What happens after a meeting is over? Do you have quick and easy ways to share the outcomes and next steps, both with people who were there and others with a “need to know” who weren’t there?
Meetings are a huge waste of time if you don’t share the outcomes and follow up on the next steps that you decided. But you don’t want to get into the rigamarole of writing formal minutes, getting approvals, etc. So, before you start a meeting, determine how you will document for quick sharing. Here are some of my favorites:
White boards. You don’t need a fancy electronic white board or scanner. Just take a digital picture of the white boards to post online or circulate in an email.
Power Point. Ask your documenter toput key points into a power point presentation–also easy to circulate and post, with the added advantage of being useful to bring non-participants up to speed and add additional contexxt that might be department-specific.
MS Word or Excel, projected during the meeting. If the documenter creates meeting notes throughout the meeting, everyone can concentrate on the content and watch the outcomes emerge rather than taking individual notes that never make it around. By the end of the meeting, notes and assignments have been included in a document that can be posted and/or circulated.
Collaborative online environments. Many, many tools are now in use to enable you to post materials, edit collaboratively, and discuss in an online forum. These are my favorite tools for easy sharing. Why? Topics can be organized and searched much more easily than email. When the software employs a “pull” rather than a “push” technology (that is, I visit when I am prepared to focus on that rather than getting pinged with emails all day), I manage time better and give and receive better attention. The longer a topic goes on over time, the more valuable it becomes to have relevant documents and discussions in the same place, instantly searchable and downloadable.
This is the tenth and final post in my series on Better Meetings — More Money. I welcome your comments and suggestions for how we can make more money by having fewer meetings, and better ones! For more resources about building a fast-growth culture in your company, please visit us online at www.thewhalehunters.com.