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Discussion on: Answer this question about meetings for the chance to appear on the DevDiscuss podcast!

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darksmile92 profile image
Robin Kretzschmar

My answer is a bit longer because I try to give a complete picture on my approach.

Basic question: meeting or email?

Will a short call or email do it instead of a meeting?
Is the meeting really important?
If not, call, walk up to someone or write an email.

Specify topic

Use a short, but concise title for the meeting, from which the topic and goal are already well recognizable.

Good:

  • Determine handling of external interface connections
  • Develop definition of meeting rules
  • Explain and document project proposal process ...

Bad:

  • Meeting
  • Short talk regarding project XYZ
  • Common testing
  • Interfaces ...

Agenda: define the goal

Describe what the meeting is about.
If there are questions or tasks in advance, put them in the description.
Is the meeting a follow-up to a previous meeting? Briefly summarize the last meeting.
Does it require any preparation from the participants? If so, make that clear in the description.
Clearly describe what the goal of the meeting is and specify the expectation:
What is the expected outcome at the end of the meeting?

Timeboxing - time schedule

Think about the time schedule of your meeting based on the agenda and determine times for each item, how long it may take at most. If possible, always plan some buffer at the end, in case it is necessary to overrun a topic. Also, every participant is happy if the meeting ends earlier than planned.

Determine the group of participants

Think carefully about who will be invited to the meeting.
Answer the following questions about each person:

  • What does the participant contribute to the meeting/goal achievement? (Why is he needed)
  • What will the participant gain from attending the meeting?
  • Will he have an active part or is it enough to inform him about the result afterwards?

If you cannot answer any of the questions, the person is most likely not needed for the meeting.

Determine moderator

If it makes sense to have a moderator for the meeting, define one. This can be one of the already invited participants, but also another person whose sole benefit is the role of the moderator. For example deeply discussing technical topics and moderating the meeting at the same time can't be handled by most people.

Sending the invitation

Invite the participants in time and check the acceptances before the meeting starts.

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graciegregory profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her) Author

This is awesome! Thank you!

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darksmile92 profile image
Robin Kretzschmar

My pleasure 😊
I even include this in welcome mails/checklists for new colleagues and with new project teams to make sure people are aware of those guidelines. Most of the time it helps to prevent unnecessary meetings or to keep meetings short with people who love to hear themselves talking 😁