Do you really need a meeting? Do you know what how to get to the heart of the matter in every meeting? How to get rid of the time waste? What is MOM and how to write Meeting Minutes?
Hey Crizpers, let’s talk about the meetings. How many times have you realized that a meeting you are on is a simple waste of time? Have you ever felt that all the key points could have been outlined in an email? And that email should have taken about a minute or two to read.. Let’s outline when a meeting is a waste. And define, how to compose a valuable MOM should a meeting has finally happened.
When a Meeting is a Waste
I propose not to consider stuff from the methodology ceremonies as waste. I am talking about Scrum meetings, Sprint planning or review, project kick-of or even 1:1 with the team. You could check more items from that list in the ‘How to DRIVE Team engagement‘ article. These are the discipline and strategic activities. But what about a case when someone is initiating a a not-planned meeting or asking you to conduct it?
First of all, check out how many people are going to participate. If there is only two or three guys invited, most likely this will be a waste of time. Reaching out to them in a chat could be more efficient and should not take a lot of time.
If there are way too many people. If this is not a company training of a formal updates announcement, this could be a waste either. People may need to shift their tasks for spending their valuable time on that sync.
Is it gonna be a Junk?
How to make sure it is not going to be an unnecessary action and to clarify the situation instantly? Check the topic of the meeting and ensure there is no option to discuss it over an email or a chat.
Besides, ensure you are a relevant person to participate. If you feel your presence is not required, it would be wise to reach out to the meeting initiator. Try to get more clarity on the question why would you need to participate.
Define, who exactly is involved and whether these people have a relation to the meeting topic. Could they bring a valuable input?
Verify the meeting duration to find out how much time this undertaking is going to eat from your business day.
Of course, there are situations when you would not have time and chance for all the above. However, if you do, that effort may help putting a ray of light to the event and saving your hours.
What it was about?
What is the most common problem after a meeting? People are struggling to recall what exactly they were talking about. Often almost no-one can recall what they have agreed on in the end. Or, people may remember the solutions differently and this causes a contradiction further. This is a challenge to keep in mind all the action that is necessary to take after.
Moreover, colleagues may not even remember who have been on that call. Another confusing situation is when people do not know each other. After the introduction they may forget the name of the opponent.
To sum up the issues above, you have a right to request for a report about the meeting afterwards with the action items and the decision made in it. This will serve well for everybody who has been there. Besides, people would have a chance to question the information provided. Should they remember additional details of if their vision contradicts with what is written, there is a possibility of discussing. My advice here is to always ask your pears to read and to replay the MOM after. That will help to ensure everybody is OK with the final content.
How to Prepare a Meeting
In the situation when an initiative comes from you, most likely you are will be the one who writes the minutes.
First of all, let’s define what MOM is. Apparently, the abbreviation means the minutes of meeting, or Meeting Minutes, which is equal.
Obviously you should not perceive it literally and there is no need to write down every phrase per minute. However, there are mandatory items we need to mention in the document. That gives a transparency to the point of the meeting. We are to catch up on all the important details that we have touched base during this meeting and to record them accordingly.
Initially, a good move would be to outline the relevance of the meeting and to list the topics that you are going to discuss. Every topic should have its duration and the name of a reporter. Share a chance to get prepared. If there is a presentation or a document you are going to talk about, supply the links too. Time, date, duration and participants are evident. Once done, send this information over to all the people who should be present a good time in advance asking for confirmation that they are in.
How to write MOM
Ok, we have sent the invitations. People have confirmed they are going to participate and all the key persons are engaged. The time comes and we need to note every important nuance regarding the solutions we will agree on or decisions that will be made.
If you write really fast, this is still not the best way for noting every word that was said. Making a video / audio record would not work as the best solution either. Firstly you need to get permissions from all the participants. Next, it will take the same time as the meeting itself to revive all the information from the record. It might be helpful just in case someone is absent, or if you will need an evidence of the meeting details.
What is in
So what should we do? We need to grasp all the important nuances and details from the conversation and to write down the decisions and the action items to keep everybody on the same page. What I am proposing is to have a preliminary composed template. In this case you will simply need to fill it during the meeting with the relevant information. I am referring to the details such as the cover info that you have pushed in the email, and other. Like time spent for every topic; solutions proposed and decisions made per topic; actionable items and assignees per topic; due dates for the action items; next meeting date if applicable.
Please be punctual. To minimize the waste, a meeting should start on time and should not take more than it was announced in the invitation. Keep the track of the session and timely inform the participants about the necessity to make a decision or to switch to another topic. Besides, no irrelevant questions should be discussed. Otherwise this will impact the time allocated for the meeting. And there is a chance you will not make a decision about the initial problem you wanted to discuss. Remember, we are here for a good reason and need to make informed decisions.
Once done and the MOM is ready, share it with your colleagues and other participants. A nice tone is to do this within 24 hours after the meeting.
Let me know what other information you include in MOM? How often do you have meetings and have you ever declined an invitation to them?