In this article we want to cover meetings. As many innovation centers like incubators, venture capitals, and accelerators focus their services into providing advice to startups, all of this comes with the need to share knowledge using different ways such as:
- Mentoring Meetings - provide to the teams with the advice and experience in certain areas.
- Coaching Meetings - provide the team with the help to find the unanswered questions by themselves.
- Events - provide all or a certain cohorts with basic knowledge and networking.
- Courses - dedicated to focus in specific knowledge that are common problems for most.
- Resources - additional and supporting material for all of the above.
Meetings are the most effective way to gain knowledge as quickly as possible, but they are also a waste of time if there is no a preparation for them in advance.
In this article, we are covering all of the main principles that you need to know to have more effective meetings.
The Meeting Purpose
This is key to understand if we need a meeting in the first place. The purpose defines what are the objectives that you want to achieve. Asking for a meeting to a group of people that you can answer by contacting them by a different method like slack, email, or even a knowledge sharing event.
The meeting purpose requires that you have the key question answered. These are some examples of questions that will provide you with the purpose.
- Do we need to brainstorm to get to the answer?
- Is the question unclear due to lack of knowledge so a meeting will help you clarify?
- Do you understand what is the problem, but you don't know what are the options for a solution?
An agenda for the meeting makes sure that all attendees understand what is going to be discussed and why are they invited.
Multiple times, attendees with a busy schedule need to prioritize between meeting so that getting a clear picture before they join help them to understand the importance of their presence.
Make sure that you describe why the attendees needs to participate. This is sometimes understood as active participation. Attendees defined as active participants are required to attend, or the meeting will not have a purpose or a successful outcome.
Now that you understand what is the purpose and agenda, you can define who are the people that needs to attend. There are two types of attendees:
- Mandatory participants, who are active member that will provide part of the decision or takes actions.
- Optional participants, who are the support team that may be required to attend to support decisions, but whose presence won't influence the outcome.
One common mistake made constantly, is to invite as many people as possible to the meeting, when you are unclear on who can cover that. We need to identify the attendees previous to the meeting is set, so that we can make sure we have the "active" participants attending to the meeting, and we can cover all topics planned to be discussed.
Meeting Actions and Notes
Every meeting has to collect all actions and notes.
- Actions: all actions with decision that didn't have a conclusion and need further investigation or discussion needs to be collected. The Action Items must be the name of the owner, avoid adding a team or a group of people as that tends to make confusion and in many cases causes confusion with the owner delaying the resolution.
- Notes: when talking about notes those should be part of any agreement, decision made during the meeting that was taken during the meeting.
How Team Coaches helps better manage your meetings?
Team Coaches has two modules that will help managing meetings and events.
- Team Coaches Mentoring: this module allows you to setup meetings with users where you can identify what are the topics of discussion, and put an agenda into the meeting. Then during the meeting, you can add public and private notes, assign tasks, and add comments from others.
- Team Coaches Community: it has event management, where again it helps you to setup community events for your users, add topics, and an agenda.
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