Fortunately (or unfortunately) I’ve been to a lot of business meetings over the past 10+ years. These include (and not limited to) customer meetings, product launch meetings, road map meetings, train-the-trainer sessions, knowledge transfer sessions, pricing meetings, sales, marketing, and customer service. The list can go on but you get the drift – it’s a lot of meetings. Many of these meetings have ranged from outright boring to full-on comedy to downright hostile – essentially, the entire gamut.
I have concluded that as a Product Manager, the expertise to handle meetings and take notes is de rigueur. And yet, we all struggle to master this basic skill. The idea is to be fast (and not so furious) with meetings and write clear, concise and actionable meeting minutes with tangible outcomes.
In this article, I have tried to put together a few things that I have learnt and practice myself to beat the deluge of meetings.
- Be on time
- Set the agenda and allocate time for each item
- Present your points clearly and pay attention to everyone’s points
- Don’t shy away from asking questions
- If still not sure, repeat your understanding or question
- If things go off-track, politely ask people to take that topic offline and shepherd everyone to the agenda items.
Cheat Sheet for clean, actionable Meeting Minutes:
Keep the following in mind before sending meeting minutes:
Let’s now see a sample:
Meeting Date: 11/12/2017 14:00
Location: Skype – Conference ID: 9478230 PIN: 5345
Title: Bi-weekly Product Review – Product Management (8am RR / 2pm Ireland / 6:30pm India) – 11/12/2017
The meeting notes and links are below. Please let me know of any questions or concerns.
- Participant 1 (Meeting Organizer)
- Participant 2
- Participant 3
- Participant 4
- Participant 5
- Participant 6
- Participant 7
- We all met and reviewed the 2.01 release deliverables
- Development has been completed and regression testing is WIP
- No risks have been identified at this point
- The Sprint Tracker dashboard is here
- The feature heat map deck is here
- Ashok to communicate the release date to the on-boarding team by 10/Jan/2018
- Mahuya to finish the demo setup by 15/Jan/2018
- We regroup in 2 weeks to go through and discuss the product demo planned by Pamela
Summing it up:
- Send out the agenda in advance
- Be prepared for the meeting and mind the time
- Be attentive and take notes, don’t be apologetic to ask questions or direct people to the agenda when you see it going off-track
- Take notes (yes, again), proofread and distribute to the participants
- Most important tip – Don’t forget to follow up. This helps in avoiding unpleasant déjà vu scene.
It would be incomplete to end the article without mentioning about Pijush & Niamh – two of my brilliant colleagues, whom I have seen swag in meetings with elegance. This article came as an inspiration from them, hope some of the information was helpful. I would love to hear about your views and tips to run meetings efficiently, feel free to comment below!
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