Productivity Coach’s Corner: Meeting? Save 15 Minutes for M.I.N.S.

Make sure to build in time at each of your meetings to answer questions around "Most Important Next Steps."

Many of you run from meeting…to meeting. How are your meeting processes? Do people you meet ever overcommit? Has anyone under-delivered? Here’s a thought experiment for the next week: Define a meeting as “time two or more people talk, and one or more person walks away with a task.”

In 2013, Aaron Gouveia wrote at that “too many meetings” was the biggest distraction employees faced. “In an effort to get things done, people gather to talk about what needs to get done… inefficiently.”

I met with (no pun intended!) a client who wanted to revamp the way he plans for, manages, and follows up on one-to-to-one meetings. “I know they could be better,” he said. “I just don’t know where to start.” He decided to begin at the end.

  • Review the successful outcome for each meeting.
  • Identify ONE topic to be handled via e-mail or a phone call.
  • Estimate the time needed for each remaining topic.
  • Reserve 25% of the meeting time for the M.I.N.S. (Most Important Next Steps)

Most Important Next Steps

Generally, one-hour meetings begin about five minutes late. Schedule 40 minutes for the actual meeting to have time to answer these questions at the end:

  • Who will do what, by when?
  • What did we NOT talk about? (Do we need to later?)
  • How can we ask for help, when we need it?