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22 Oct

Get more done in meetings using the “agenda”-method

Datum: 2010-10-22 11:24

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?

Try this

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?