Home Office 365 Ask Dux: How Can I Hold Better Meetings?

Ask Dux: How Can I Hold Better Meetings?

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Recent workplace disruptions have changed the ways we meet (hint: we’re huddling more often, and many participants are less than enthused to be there). As we think about what the new world of work looks like, it’s a good time to revisit how we should think about meetings.  

Tune in to discover 5 tips that can elevate any meeting, whether it’s virtual, in-person or hybrid. Let’s go and Ask Dux (and Kevin)!

In this episode: 

1st tip: Define your purpose 

Pre-COVID, I had a lot of meetings where they were just a standing meeting or a meeting for meetings’ sake. But being remote has really made us focus on strengthening our objectives and our to-do list, so to speak.  

Personally, I think one crucial change that has to happen with meetings is to have a clear agenda going in—a list of who’s participating, who should be there, who shouldn’t be there, and then defining a clear result.  

Looking back at the number of meetings in my prior life, pre-AvePoint, that didn’t have those elements, I’m just shocked. It speaks to the importance of a game plan. Even if it’s a quick game plan, it’s going to be efficient for a quick sync or a 10-minute chat. 

In my mind, there’s really two types of meeting: 

  1. To provide an update or informational meeting. 
  2. A problem-solving meeting.  

Being able to distinguish between those two is important. What’s the purpose? Is it update- informational or problem-solving? And then once you have that, put together the invite with the agenda in. It takes a lot of discipline.  

2nd tip: Identify key stakeholders 

It’s also important to understand that not all meetings are an all-hands-on-deck kind of thing. There’s a time and a place for those.  

I’ve read somewhere that the ideal number is like how you can give two large pizzas to a group: 4, 6, 8, 10—maybe 10 max—people in a meeting. At that point, you can either funnel that information to the right people or you’re not using everyone’s time in the best possible manner.  

Keep it small, keep it focused, and limit the number of people to those who can take the action items to the next step. 

3rd tip: Gauge the length 

As much as we’re considering the amount of people, make sure to also consider gauging the length. Sometimes, a 15-minute sync is all you’ll need. Certainly, there are meetings meant to be longer, so you really need to determine how much gas you need in the tank to get something done.  

Still, the shorter, the better. The nature of technology now is, even if you don’t cover every single thing in the meeting, you can still keep that threaded thought or meeting going. For example, when you use Teams, you can have that 15-minute meeting recorded, then carry on the conversation in the chat.  

Extra tip: When you schedule meetings in Outlook, you can actually set default times. You can say, “Whenever I schedule a meeting, make the default to 15 minutes or 25 minutes” without having to use the native 30 minutes or one hour default.  

4th tip: Don’t forget the action items 

Once you’ve defined your purpose and your agenda and you’re talking through things, build accountability and plan out the next step by assigning tasks and giving due dates.  

The action items are very important, because if you don’t do that, you’re not really moving forward. There’s so much technology out there, but if you’re using Microsoft 365, make sure to take advantage of Microsoft To Do or Microsoft Planner. You can assign tasks. And the beauty of those tools is they show up in Outlook and you can keep people accountable and also make sure that certain deadlines are met. 

5th tip: Make it inclusive 

Lastly, make sure you get perspective from every single individual you invited. The fact that you invited the person means there was a reason why they were invited to the meeting. You know they have something to contribute; that they have something to say.  

Our personalities are different. Some people may just be quieter than others. So, make sure you’re being inclusive by giving everybody an opportunity to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas. That’s certainly possible with all the capabilities that technology offers now.

Hybrid meetings: What does it look like? 

I’ve experienced this in the last two weeks: I started going to our office here in Washington, DC and it dawned on me as I looked in my calendar that I had calls half of the day. Whereas, I went to the office because I knew a lot of our colleagues would be there.  

So, now I’m blocking off days where I’ll be in the office. During those days, I’m not going to do any calls or meetings. Because I’m with our colleagues, there’s a great opportunity to collaborate, ideate, and brainstorm in person. I’m going to be more mindful and intentional where, if I’m in the office, it’s going to be about group collaborative type of work.  

When I’m not in the office, it’ll be more focused work. It’ll be more one-on-one meetings or one-to-many meetings. That’s one of the big changes for me. I’ll be more intentional in how I schedule meetings and consider if I’m remote versus if I’m in the office. 

Episode resources 

Microsoft To Do: Welcome to To Do (microsoft.com) 

Microsoft Planner: Hub – Planner (office.com) 

What’s more? 

Check out Forrester’s New Wave SaaS Application Data Protection Q4 2021 report where only AvePoint received the highest possible score for multi-cloud SaaS backup criteria. Get free access to the report at avepoint.com/report. 

Get involved! 

Don’t forget to send us your questions on Twitter with a hashtag #AskDux or send us an email at askdux@avepoint.com.

Subscribe where you get your podcasts! Search for “#ShiftHappens” in your favorite podcast app.

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