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4 Steps to More Effective Meetings

We all know the problem: Too much time is spent in conference rooms discussing problems, listening and brainstorming ideas, as well as generating new products and strategies.
Numerous gurus have advocated the benefits of reducing time in meetings, the number of attendees to meetings, and even the overall length of meetings.
There are five types of meetings, but only four are required. They are the best way to exchange ideas and form plans, and they can also be used to make decisions.
Meetings are only wasteful if they are not productive and have no actionable outcome. That’s what we’re fixing today. We will be looking at four simple steps to increase the effectiveness of meetings.
This article:
1. Prepare
2. Visualize
3. Notes: Take (efficient!) Notes
4. Define tasks

MeisterLabs develops intuitive collaboration tools for teams in all industries and all countries. We spend a lot time trying to simplify workflows and make them more efficient. It was only natural that we would also look at our own bad habits and find ways to improve them.
The four steps that we have learned over eight years of trial-and-error are what we believe to be the most important. These steps are simple but can make all the difference.
How can you increase meeting effectiveness and reduce time spent in meetings? We have the answers.
1. Prepare
We have found that meetings that don’t go well prepared often lead to meaningless, superficial discussions, which inevitably end in the sentence “Let’s dig deep and meet again”.
To avoid unnecessary time and waste, everyone who wishes to host a meeting within our company must take responsibility for meeting preparation. Here’s how it works.
Determine who is most important for the meeting. Invite only those who are essential as contributors to the meeting.
Set a clear goal for your meeting. Without a clear goal, you won’t know if the meeting has served its purpose.
Make a list of questions and topics that you need to address. Be as specific as you can.
You should inform another participant in advance if you plan to ask them for their professional input. This will allow them to prepare properly.

Preparing will make you mentally ready to face the meeting. You are less likely to get distracted by someone trying to stall the conversation.
You can prepare for the daily standup meetings. It doesn’t take long to plan what’s going on and what you want to talk about in these meetings. You’ll find progress meetings much easier to manage once your team is familiar with the flow of the meetings.
2. Visualize
We are the developers of visual collaboration tools and we understand how important it is to use visual aids to present information to others.
Slideshows, images and diagrams can be used to show others how you think. They can also be used to help people see the whole picture and identify connections between topics.
3. Notes: Take (efficient!) Notes
The phenomenon known as the diffusion of responsibility is a problem that affects most teams, including our own. It occurs when you give a task to a group of people and everyone assumes that someone else will do it.
This is usually the case in a meeting where people discuss a topic and each person thinks the other is taking notes and, if not, will still remember all the great ideas that were discussed during the discussion.
Here are some ways to avoid this situation
Do not assume: Actively appoint a person to take real-time notes on everything important.
The notes can be projected onto a wall so that everyone can see them and point out any errors.
Notes can be taken in a format that is easy for others to edit, update, and share.
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