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Mastering Meetings: Simple Steps to Boost Productivity and Engagement

Mastering Meetings: Simple Steps to Boost Productivity and Engagement

Whether we’re meeting in person, over Zoom, or even via the trusty old telephone, meetings are an integral part of our work lives. Ideally, they should propel us forward and shed light on the next steps. However, the reality is that many times, meetings feel less engaging and more like a drain on our time. This week, I’m on a mission to help you transform that!

The bad reputation of meetings often stems from attendees being ill-prepared. I speak from experience – I used to be one of those unprepared folks. An hour would fly by, only to find that we’d barely touched on our agenda and made no firm decisions. My perspective on meetings took a turn for the better when I began implementing a straightforward planning formula. Now, be it a meeting with a vendor, client, or colleague, I genuinely look forward to it. These sessions have become instrumental in recalibrating my focus and outlining the next steps.

Before we get into my strategy, here’s a crucial pointer: The human attention span is very short, and in the age of social media and smartphones, it’s shrunk even further. Choose concise sentences and convey your message swiftly. Encouraged all attendees to contribute, and rotate speakers often to maintain engagement.

Now, wondering how I prepare for meetings? I keep it straightforward because simplicity works wonders!

1: I outline my talking points and put them in the right order. Arranging them logically and including necessary keywords on each ensures I remain on track and don’t overlook crucial details. I make a habit of revisiting these points before the meeting at least once. Here’s an example of what I’ve prepared for an upcoming client business review: (

2: I keep a section on the same page exclusively for action items. Here’s a glimpse ( The goal is to leave each meeting with some actionable takeaways to make the session feel worthwhile. Having this list within easy reach serves as a nudge to ensure I’ve captured a few tasks.

3: I include a section as a notepad for scribbling miscellaneous notes. Here’s a preview of how the three sections look together (

After the meeting is over, I always allocate a few moments to refine these notes to ensure I have captured everything perfectly.

And because today’s your lucky day, here are three bonus tips:

Tip 1: Share a recap of these notes with attendees. This fosters clarity and showcases the care and diligence you invested, underscoring how much you value everyone’s time.

Tip 2: Consider utilizing meeting apps (I’m partial to FellowApp) or even a simple Word document and share them ahead. Sharing notes, especially within your team, prior to meetings ensures everyone’s well-informed and ready for the conversation.

Tip 3: Holding regular team sessions or one-on-ones with a consistent structure? Craft a template! Designate sections for your meeting notes, save them as a template, and just fill in the specifics for each recurrent meeting.

An hour-long meeting of four participants equals four hours of precious time. It’s easy to waste if attendees aren’t adequately prepared. Spare a few moments get your talking points together, and dazzle your peers with your thoroughness.

Wishing you productive meetings ahead,

– Burak Sarac, Team Lead

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