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6 Steps to Master Your Meeting Day Without Falling Behind

6 Steps to Master Your Meeting Day Without Falling Behind

Review and Organize Meeting Materials the Day Before

Preparing for your meeting day begins even before the day. Make sure that you review and organize all necessary materials the day before the meeting. Depending on your work type, it might be a presentation, a report with an updated description of the topic, an agenda, or other documents you will talk about. For example, if you will consider the results of your sales strategy implementation for the last quarter, prepare sales data, performance charts, sales forecast, etc. On the one hand, it allows you not to waste time during the meeting to find the necessary information, and on the other hand, it might help you to see that you are missing a part of the data and to ask someone to bring it to you or the database manager to prepare a report for you. Also, make a checklist of all these materials and tick them as you prepare each of them. Check that you use appropriate fonts and charts on each slide, that your financial reports are updated, and that all external links are working. Do not just prepare for the meeting, but also make yourself look competent and in control to your colleagues.

Set Clear Goals for the Meeting

Each of your meetings should have its purpose, and this purpose should be clear. Inform the attendees about your purpose beforehand. Make sure that you state the main goal at the very beginning of the document or the agenda. For example, “We need to discuss and determine our final marketing strategy for the next quarter.” So the purpose is set, and you make your participants prepared to bring their ideas and questions up. Divide bigger goals into smaller tasks that can be assigned at the meeting. It will be easier to track the results after the meeting and make sure that each of the participants knows what is expected of them.

Make sure roles are designated

To streamline meetings and ensure involvement, assign specific roles to each meeting participant. Designated roles can include a moderator, responsible for moving the conversation along, a note-taker, responsible for summarizing the discussion, and timekeeper, responsible for ensuring the meeting’s schedule. Give everyone titles based on their meeting functions. For the project review meeting, assign the following roles: the project manager, who is to be the moderator; the administrative assistant, note-taker; and the lead specialist of the project, the timekeeper. Designating roles keeps structure and allows meetings to run a course without unnecessary interruptions and derails.

Use modern tech for efficiency

Leverage tech to streamline meetings and ensure speed and effectiveness. Schedule meeting dates using digital calendars; host remote meetings using Zoom or other video conferencing software; use project management apps for keeping tabs on follow-ups; and make sure each party to the meeting knows how to use the respective tech. For example, when conducting a Zoom conference, send out a scheduled link with the instructions on how to use the platform, including how to turn the audio and video on and off. Test all tech prior to the meeting to avoid waste of time. Set up the internet connection, ensure the latest software version, check remote meeting software, and make sure everyone can access the shared digital documents. Always follow-up

After the meeting is over, draft and send out a summary of what was discussed, what decisions were made, and what next steps will be. Make sure the follow-up is relevant and brief, detailing only what is needed and who is going to be responsible for each task. For instance, if it was decided during the meeting to increase the marketing budget, ensure that the follow-up includes how the new budget is going to be or where it is going to be allocated and put in charge.aupt that decision. The follow-up serves several key purposes: it allows for recording the meeting, it makes sure everyone is held accountable, and it ensures that no tasks slip through the cracks.

Create a Concise Agenda for Each Meeting

Design a detailed and short agenda

The format of the meeting agenda that can be circulated on time is a prime order for controlling your meeting day. The best way to keep your business meeting homework is to prepare a slightly short and at the same time detailed agenda, distribute it to all the participants, and explain it to each person over time. Your precise agenda will create the atmosphere of the day, ensuring that everyone can prepare accordingly.

List of the most basic conversation items and timing

Under each item on the list, write a brief description and specify the time. Here’s a possible format:

  • Report on market observation or overall product launch (15 minutes).

  • Marketing head’s reporting on builder strategy (20 minutes).

  • Discussion and expression of opinion on strategy (25 minutes).

This way, all the participants at the meeting will be able to prepare themselves specifically for the section of the meeting that concerns them. The meeting will not fall into degradation if all activity is strictly scheduled and held on time.

Assign a discussion leader to each item on the agenda

The leader should prepare in advance, knowing carefully what he or she is talking always about, it will save precious time that could be wasted on unnecessary discussions or because people don’t know who should speak next.

Plan time for questions and answers

If you discuss vital points at home and then offer a question and answer time, people may forget what questions they may have wanted to ask 20 minutes ago. Thus, it is better to plan a question and answer time immediately after the discussion of the most significant points. You can, for example, immediately after the report of the head of sales about the strategy of promotion of a new product, offer to ask questions on this period 10 minutes. It generally gives rise to much better questions. If possible, please distribute any materials with your agenda that participants need to become familiar with before the meeting, such as any research or reports, data analysis, or slides. Most important, try to plan this not just before the meeting but also on time. As a rule, 48 hours should be enough for people to prepare some questions and comments itself.

Prioritize Key Tasks to Complete During Breaks

How to Use Breaks to Be More Productive on Meeting Days

Breaks throughout the day are the perfect time to take care of some of your urgent tasks, respond to critical email, or perhaps make a necessary phone call. However, maximizing your productivity during the day when you must attend the meeting requires a planned approach.

Realize Which Tasks Require Your Immediate Attention

When you wake up in the morning and start getting ready for the day with meetings ahead, think of 2 to 3 high-priority task that you cannot postpone. At the same time, these tasks should be something you can realistically accomplish when given a short break. For instance, you may need to approve the deliverables of a project, respond to an email from a client whose matter is very time-sensitive, review a report of your team that adorns the end and will be soon published. Thus, select something that can take up to 10-15 minutes to complete without a stressful rush.

Allocate Specific Times in Your Calendar

The reason it’s best to use digital calendars and planners is that they allow you to literally block the time you have for each task. For example, if you have a meeting in the morning, then 15-minutes break, and another meeting, allocate a task for that break. It will help you not only control your day and not forget about the selected tasks but also unbind you from your inner clock.

Prepare Everything You Need in Advance

Before your meeting day, make sure you have everything prepared that you will need. If the task at hand requires reviewing a document, check whether the document has reached you and whether you should approve it. If you’re responding to an email, perhaps you should write a draft for it in advance. If you’re reviewing your team’s report, check the report – despite the name, it’s supposed to be very brief. Thus, you’ll be able to spend the whole break on work rather than preparing documents or drafting an answer.

Use Mobile Apps and Tool

In your daily life, especially on a meeting day, you should be using every tool available that makes you more productive while on the go. For instance, if you need to check or update some of your project tasks, Asana or Trello’s mobile app is the best way. Need to talk to someone for this matter? Slack or Microsoft Teams are the solutions.

Use Technology to Stay on Track

Using technology in beneficial ways can furnish you with outstanding controls over your meeting day and make sure that anything goes off without a hitch. The modern world has a variety of tech tools that help streamline communications, organize tasks, and get ahold of all things needed during the meeting days. Make sure to choose to use your tech tools wisely and, before the meeting day arrives, research and choose the technology tools that will serve your specific needs . For instance, if you need to hold a virtual conference, using Zoom or Microsoft Teams might be a good idea .In case you need to work on a document together with others, programs like Google Docs or Microsoft OneDrive facilitate multiuser editing . When choosing a technology tool, consider the ease of doing so, compatibility with other technologies you might be using, and the features the technology tool offers.

Familiarize Yourself with the Features

When you have already selected the technology tool you will be using on a regular basis, research its features and try to make the most of them. If you have chosen to use Asana for project management, get to know its task assignment, deadline setting to task completion progression . In case you are using a video-conferencing program, learn about sharing your screen, muting others, and dividing them into smaller groups. Becoming proficient in using the tool you’ve selected will save you a lot of time during the meeting day and ensure everyone attending the meeting will have a seamless and stress-free experience.

Use Integrations for Streamline Workflow

To make sure that everything goes as planned during the meeting day and you keep an eye on everything happening, integrate the chosen technology tools . In case you are tracking assignments in Asana or a similar tool, integrate it with your calendar to help you avoid missing the deadlines and meeting times set . Another example could be Slack or any other communication tool you have chosen, which could be integrated with your email to flag important messages.

Leverage Automation

There is a variety of automation options that technology provides these days, and letting technology handle the tasks you frequently repeat might save a lot of time. For instance, if you are a manager that schedules weekly phone conferences, sending out reminder emails might be automated . Alternately, you might want to automate the assignment of tasks to your employees based on the completion of some previous tasks.

Schedule Brief Check-ins with Yourself

An effective strategy to master your day full of meetings without falling behind is to schedule brief check-ins with yourself. Those should be the periods when you can refocus and ground your day in your preset priorities.

Morning planning

Let your day start with a 10-to-15-minute review of your calendar and tasks. This first pause is crucial for setting a clear map in your head for your meetings and tasks of the day. If you know you have a meeting with the marketing team to discuss holiday campaigns at 10 AM, this brief check-in should be the time to fetch your notes and the key points you need to make or need information on.

Midday review

Pause another 5-to-15 minutes around noon. This check-in should be aimed at assessing how the morning part of your day went and adjusting the plan moving forward. If the meeting ran late, schedule the call you moved at the new time, knew that decision made in the meeting should reprioritize your to-do list. Take this time to eat your lunch or, even better, take a walk or a nap. Your afternoon meetings will thank you for it.

End-of-day-wrap-up

Spend another 10-to-15 minutes on the virtual or actual closing of your workday. What has been achieved today, and what it should force you to do tomorrow? Update your task list with new tasks following your day of meetings and get one or two of them ready to go tomorrow. Your client asked for more data during the meeting — the task to compile it should be the fist on your tomorrow’s list.

Technology can help you in setting your check-ins. Use your calendar’s persistent options or task managers to remind you daily of these brief moments. Apps like Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook can create recurring reminders, which is especially valuable in that case. Customize verbal alerts in your app to change your meetings with a five-minute head-up every time you need to switch focus.

Reflect and Plan for the Next Day

Thinking over the day and planning the next one is a fundamental activity for mastering one’s schedule, especially on a busy meeting-day. First and foremost, reflecting on a working day allows one to sum up the day’s achievements and plan future activities adequately. In the context of each day, reflecting can be effective if the timeframe is fixed and enforced daily. Therefore, the entire strategy of the day starts with reflection. The following activities should be observed during reflection on the working day:

  • Evaluation of the day achievements . It should be done within ~10 minutes. Focused reflection allows one to understand whether it was a success or failure? What was achieved, and what went wrong in the process? This issue should be resolved as it is constructed to remove the dissonance between the Plan and its results. An example might be: today at the Project kickoff meeting, we identified open points for each of my tasks and determined the position of my team on the project.

  • Task planning for the next day . Based on the results, it is recommended to distribute TOP tasks for the next day. For example, a delivery manager had to raise rates with a client’s manager. We started talking about it at the meeting, but I have prepared a Plan and will call him tomorrow.

  • Identification of lessons learned . What was bad about today? For example, back-to-back meetings for analyzing data caused problems – at the end of each meeting, conditionally – “after analysis” – the brain was looking for time to think – now I’m free for 15 minutes between meetings.

This part of the schedule helps avoid mistakes, waste less time on solving a variety of problems that have already been solved, and concentrate efforts on fundamentally new goals. This part of reflection allows me to understand that the Plan only works and leads to results when it is regularly checked and adjusted based on actual data.

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