Let’s say you’ve got something you want to talk about with a certain person next time you meet him. It’s not that urgent that you need to call instantly, but can wait till you meet next time. Perhaps this is someone who is difficult to reach, even by telephone.
Let’s call him Bob.
It’s easy to remember that “That’s right, I must remember to talk with Bob about this the next time we meet.”. But it is also easy that once you meet him, you become so involved in the discussion about the meeting’s primary subjects, that you forget to talk about the thing you wanted to remember.??What if you could gather everything you have to talk to Bob about, regardless of when you come to think of it, so that you can make sure that you’ve discussed everything you’ve planned when you meet?
You can arrange this in different ways. Here are five options.
- Agenda-notebook — Get a really small notebook which you keep with you at all times. In it you only note things you need to speak with others about. Allocate a page per person. An advantage with this way of making notes is that it’s quick and easy to write down what you come to think of immediately when it pops into your mind, so you never have to try to remember it. A disadvantage on the other hand is that you now have another ”place” you need to carry with you, added to the to-do-list, the meetings-notepad, phone, agenda et c, which you already carry around. (A digital alternative is the notepad-application on your cell phone).
- In the “Notes”-field on the contact card for Bob in Outlook – You’ve got the agenda-topics in a safe place (and they there have a back-up), but remember what it says before you send the contact card as a business card-file (.vcf) to someone else since the notes will be included.
- Collect under a specific context in the to-do list — Just as you use other contexts in your to-do list, make a new context and call it “Agenda” or something like it. Create a to-do task which you begin with the person’s name followed by a colon and then the task, for example, “Bob Anderson: Ask what he thinks about our new site.” Tag or mark the task with the “Agenda” — context.
- A special section in your physical to-do list — Gather all the things and topics you wish to discuss in meetings here, divided by the person it concerns.
- In the section for booking meetings in the digital calendar (e.g. Outlook, Lotus Notes, iCal, Google Calendar) — Once the date of the meeting has arrived, you have the agenda easily accessible, but before that, when you are going to write down what you just thought of, it may be a hassle to find the next meeting you have with Bob.
Just before you have a meeting with someone, you skim through the notes were you wrote down everything you have to discuss with her a while ago, which you now will be able to discuss when you meet (if you’ve got enough time).
The essential point
The point of the “Agenda”-method is that you gain time, since you make use of the moment when you meet to the fullest and you don’t have to spend more energy booking a new appointment or call back again because you forgot to discuss something.
How do you do it?
How do you do to make use of your time in a meeting so that you get the maximum amount of work done?