A good friend of mine was asking me how to conduct product meetings. So here is what I shared with him. I hope that you find it useful as well.
Before calling for a meeting, please consider the following:
1. If you have something to announce that does not require interaction or feedback, consider sending an email announcement instead.
2. If you want to ask something simple from a group of people, consider using a group chat instead.
3. Carefully select the people you want to be present in the meeting. Are they all expected to contribute to the discussion? Invite only people who need to be present at the meeting.
4. If you need people to represent their departments in a forum, it would be practical to call in just one representative.
5. If you are using presentation material, please send the deck 48 hours before the meeting. Sending it ahead will save you time. Attendees can come prepared with their builds and questions.
6. Advise the participants on the goal of the meeting and the agenda. People can best add value to a meeting if they know its purpose.
In the meeting
1. If you are the facilitator of the meeting, you are responsible for controlling the discussion. Stick to your agenda.
2. Get to the meeting venue 15 minutes before a face-to-face meeting. If it’s online, log in 5 minutes early.
3. Listen attentively.
4. If you are in an online meeting, be mindful of your background noise. Make sure your mic is on mute when you are not speaking.
5. If you are the facilitator of the meeting, start and end the session on time. People have other work to do.
6. Keep the meeting on point. When the discussion is going off-topic, call the attention of the group. Write down the off-topic item and return to it if there is a spare time at the end of the meeting.
7. If the meeting is essential, have someone take the minutes of the meeting. This discussion can be classified into two groups; agreements and actions. For actions, ensure a deadline for each item and a single accountable person.
8. End the meeting by quickly recapping the action and agreement.
After the meeting
1. Send the meeting minutes within 24 hours so people can recall what was agreed upon and what actions they are assigned.
Note: You can measure the effectiveness of the meeting using a very brief survey. The survey is advisable for people whose role (usually C-level executives) is predominantly to add value in meetings. It is good to know how effective your meetings are.
You may find the link to the survey I use for my meetings as an example: