How much of your day is spent running to...or returning from...meetings?
Attending a Meeting: Tip #1
Confirm the location, start and end times and any specific information you might need so you get there in time/on time. If you are going to a new building, for example, identify if you'll need ID to get in, and find out how much time you need to get there.
When you ask for the start and end time, encourage the meeting leader to provide the group with the running/working agenda. This will let you know what information you need to bring for the meeting.
Attending a Meeting: Tip #2
Be prepared to give it your all. What will you have to do before you arrive, and what will you need while you're in the meeting to stay 100% focused on the discussion?
- use the bathroom?
- eat a snack? bring a snack?
- bring water?
- turn on the Out of Office on email?
- ask a colleague to answer my phone?
- send a quick "group email" to anyone staying on the desk?
- collect supplies for meeting?
Leaving a Meeting: Tip #1
48-72 hours after the meeting, call someone you do not talk with regularly who attended the meeting. Prior to calling, think about something they said during or after the meeting that you have been thinking about over the past day or two. Let them know you would like to know more or simply thank them for sharing that perspective.
When you practice looking for new ideas because you're going to follow up in a few days, you become more attentive (and productive) in the meetings you attend.
Leaving a Meeting: Tip #2
As soon as you get back to your desk or the office, draft an email with the action items you walked away with from the meeting. Experiment at first by only sharing YOUR action items. Also, consider putting the deliverable and anticipated completion date next to each item. Send that to the meeting leader (or, if you're the leader, send it out to your team).
Modeling this level of clarity AND accountability sends a powerful message to those you meet with (especially if they are clients!). Subtly, and significantly, you let them know you were paying attention and you can be trusted to work on your to-dos.
OK, your turn... what tips do you use?