Use Your Agenda Items as Headlines in Your Meeting Notes

Today’s Meeting Productivity  Tip (September, 27th 2017): Use Your Agenda Items as Headlines in Your Meeting Notes

Save time, stay organized, and ensure that you cover everything important in your meetings

I always use this simple but powerful little trick to keep my meetings (and participants) organized and on track. Once you’ve constructed a strong, focused agenda and sent it to your meeting attendees ahead of time, just use that agenda (with any changes/tweaks that came about before the meeting) as a template or Table of Contents (TOC) for your notes.

You can use your agenda verbatim or paraphrase, just make sure that you can visually link each agenda item in your notes easily. The important thing is that you know exactly what subjects, and thus notes, you need to capture for this meeting. There won’t be any forgotten topics or lost/hard to find information in your post meeting minutes.

Here’s a great example of using an agenda as your template of TOC for your meeting:

Agenda as a meeting notes TOC

 

In MeetingSense Pro you can also do this with the click of one button. At the end of your WebCapture Notes Pod Toolbar, you’ll see a button called “Import Agenda”. Click that button and MeetingSense will automatically import your agenda (assuming you have one) into your notes pod as headers. That’s it!

Import Your Agendas

Use your agenda as a notes TOC in one click!

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it! Give it a try in your next meeting and see how much more productivity you squeeze out of your interactions and communication. Have great meetings today.

Capturing Action Items in Your Fast-Paced Meetings Is Quick & Easy

Meeting Tip (September, 16th 2017):  MeetingSense Pro offers a few simple ways to assign action items during any type of meeting

Meetings can be hectic and fast-paced affairs. No one is going to stop or slow down to make sure you’ve captured all of the right information, you’re just expected to get it all, and get it all right. Having the right tools can make all the difference between get everything your teams needs, and missing an important point.

Once you’ve launched MeetingSense WebCapture to help capture all of the critical information being shared in your meeting, there are a couple efficient ways to ensure you assign all actions covered. All WebCapture pods were designed to help you most effectively record the right information.

To Assign Action Items within MeetingSense:

From the Action Item Pod

  1. Click the “+” button to the top right of the pod
  2. Fill in all of the appropriate information
    1. ONLY a title is mandatory if you’re in a rush
    2. Add a title that will help you remember what this Action Item is, then you can come back later and gill in the rest later
  3. Click Save and Close, or Save and New if you’d like to immediately create another Action item

MeetingSense - Create a new action item

 

Drag & Drop from Your Notes within MeetingSense

  1. Highlight a line of text you’ve already typed into the Notes pod and drag it down into the Action Item pod
  2. This will automatically create a new Action Item with the dragged text as the subject
  3. Then fill in any additional details, or simply click save and close, or save and new

Click and drag capture abilities with MeetingSense

When meetings are fast and non-stop having a way to quickly and easily assign Action Items is critical. MeetingSense Pro provides a couple simple ways for ensuring that you’ll never miss another Action Item in the middle of a meeting.

Have great meetings today!

Save on Meeting Set Up Time with Pro Agenda Templates

MeetingSense Pro Agenda Templates Save You Meeting Set Up Time


This Week’s Meeting Tip (September 7th, 2017) – Creating a few meeting agenda templates ahead of time allows you to easily pick-and-go when scheduling your meetings

Adding clear concise meeting agendas to every meeting invite will help you and your participants start your meetings much more efficiently, while ensuring that everyone stays on task to be much more productive in the meeting. (read an article about creating the best agendas possible)

So, do you have to create an agenda for every single meeting you schedule?

MeetingSense Pro allows you to create “Agenda Templates” once, and then simply pick an agenda from a drop-down list in your MeetingSense Microsoft Outlook invite pane for each meeting. Creating and using Agenda templates will save you 5-10 minutes for every meeting you schedule.

Here are the simple steps for creating Agenda templates for Outlook and from your Dashboard:

From Outlook MeetingSense Pane:

Note: You must have the MeetingSense Pro Outlook Toolbar and Pane installed first. If not, get yours here now: http://www.meetingsense.com/outlook/

  1. Schedule a new meeting from Outlook like you always do
  2. When the new invite opens, you’ll see the MeetingSense Pro pane of the right
  3. Fill in a goal if you’d like
  4. Then, simply start typing in the Agenda you’d like to save as a template
  5. Use one Agenda Item per line, do not add a dot or number, this will be done automatically
  6. Once you have completed the Agenda you’d like to save, check the “Save as new Agenda” box and name your template
  7. Ensure that you name your template something you’ll recognize and associate with this agenda for later
  8. Send the meeting invite when finished
  9. The next time you go to schedule a meeting using the MeetingSense Pane, your new save Agenda template will be available from the dropdown box

Scheduling meetings with MeetingSense through Microsoft Outlook

 

From Your MeetingSense Pro Dashboard:

  1. Go to your MeetingSense Pro dashboard: https://mymeetingsense.com
  2. Click on the “Meetings” page https://mymeetingsense.com/meetings
  3. At the top right of the page, click the “…” button to access your Agenda and Conferencing templates
  4. Choose the Agenda Templates tab
  5. From the dropdown, choose the “New Agenda” option
  6. In the open text box, just start typing the first agenda point of the agenda you want to create
  7. Finish all of your Agenda points for this agenda
  8. In the box below, check the “Save as new Agenda” box
  9. Name your new agenda template and click save
  10. Your new Agenda template will now be available from the dropdown box when scheduling new meetings in Outlook (the MeetingSense pane) or on your MeetingSense dashboard

Create a new meeting agenda with MeetingSense

Creating meeting Agenda templates in MeetingSense Pro is quick and easy using either of the two methods outlined above.

Using Agenda templates will allow you to save 5-10 minutes of meeting set up every time you schedule a new meeting. Allowing you to pick from a pre-created list of agendas instead of typing them out for every meeting will make your life easier, and save you loads of time every week.

Have great meetings today!

 

 

How to Improve Your Company Meetings in 5 Easy Steps

By Hannon Brett, Founder MeetingSense Software Corporation

Having well-formed and properly thought-out meeting agenda is critical to starting (and finishing) your virtual or in-person meetings successfully. A well-constructed meeting agenda will also empower every attendee to positively impact the outcome of your meetings. Below, I outline how to setup and structure your business meeting agendas to ensure maximum return.

Research has shown that well-crafted meeting agendas help drive efficient meetings, keep things on track, and encourage more productive and successful meeting outcomes for everyone involved.

First, let’s cover the basics. Strong meeting agendas help meeting attendees:

  • Show up to meetings completely prepared
  • Understand the full scope of your meetings
  • Digest the context of each topic in its relation to the overall meeting (seeing the forest for the trees)
  • Properly manage the allotted time available wisely
  • Stay on topic as you progress through the meeting timeline
  • Ensure the meeting’s outcome ultimately drives the success of the team/project/business

My top 5 agenda-boosting tips to instantly improve your meeting efficiency and outcomes are…

 

1) Share Agendas with Participants as Early as Possible

To tease the most value and productivity out of your meeting (and your agenda), timing is everything. Sending a meeting agenda minutes before the meeting starts or handing out printed versions as the meeting kicks off is going to have the opposite effect intended, and will most likely lead to chaos, disorganization, and frustration for everyone.

The true reason for an agenda is to have everyone on the same page about what’s going to be covered, who is going to take the lead for each topic, and how long each topic should take to fully cover… before the meeting begins. Giving every attendee necessary time to think about how he or she can best contribute to each agenda item covered.

So, what’s the ideal time to send your meeting agendas? We’ve found that it’s best to share agendas at very least, 24 hours before the meeting is scheduled to begin. This helps your attendees fully read, digest, and, if necessary, provide feedback/input about the agenda itself. This will also give you time to integrate that important feedback and team additions into your agenda to make it as strong a final version as possible.


2) Use A Strong Agenda Template Title

If you use ‘meeting agenda templates’, that is, if you name agendas in order to reuse them for specific types of meetings, a good descriptive agenda title will help users understand the overall scope of the meeting’s focus.

Bad: Marketing Meeting

Good:  Tuesday Marketing Campaigns Meetings

As an example, you may use a specific list of agenda items for all of your cross-functional meetings, another set for review meetings, and yet another for group work meetings. Each agenda type or template needs to fit its intended use, and should be labeled as descriptively as possible.


Possible Meeting Agenda Type examples:

  • Cross-Functional Meetings
  • Development Scrum Meetings
  • 1:1 Information or Employee Review Meetings
  • Multi-Person Presentations

 

3) Choose Clear, Focused Agenda Items

Agenda items lay out individual focuses to be covered throughout your meetings topic-by-topic. You can have as few or as many agenda items as necessary, as long as they successfully guide you and your attendees through each topic, leading to actionable decisions and the intended delivery/consumption of the right information.

A good way to think about an agenda is a very basic outline of your meeting that highlights the important main points

Agenda items should always be descriptive and understandable in order to convey exactly what needs to be covered. You can also include who will lead the discussion of each item, as well as how much time is allotted for each item.

Having these three elements present in each Agenda item will help to ensure the most productive guidance towards successful meeting outcomes.

An example of the perfect meeting agenda is below:

Meeting Agenda

 

4) When Possible, Assign Each Person an Agenda Item

Some of the most effective agendas assign ‘owners’ to each specific item – especially for cross-functional or group participation meetings. Items that are owned and driven by the person responsible for that topic will drive the most value from that item when discussed with the team.

This person is usually responsible for speaking to that point or area, whether it’s his/her area of expertise or just the best person to ensure the topic is fully and completely covered.

Not all meetings require assigned agendas, but they do help when many varied topics are being covered by different attendees – a weekly cross-functional launch meeting would be a perfect example. Assigning agenda items is also a great way to ensure better use of precious meeting time regardless of the meeting type or topic.
 

5) Give Each Agenda Item a Time Limit (…and stick to it!)

The last critically important element of a great agenda is a time designation or time allotment for each item. This ensures that the meeting stays on track, and gives attendees a step-by-step time management guide throughout the meeting.

Pragmatically, agenda times better enforce meeting progression to ensure all topics are covered properly as intended.

Of course, these times can be altered while in the meeting to account for overrun or underrun, but providing attendees with some expected timelines for the agenda will ensure a much smoother transition from item to item, and will do wonders for keeping meetings moving productively through each topic.

Note: We’ve found that this element alone can greatly increase your meeting effectiveness and attendee efficiency, while eliminating tons of wasted time and/or unnecessary follow up meetings.

 

Improve the Efficiency of Your Meetings – In Summary:

Using the simple guidelines above when creating your corporate meeting agendas will help you better focus your meetings and attendees, and will ensure more successful meeting outcomes. When you schedule your next meeting, try the following and see if your meeting is more productive:

  • Put extra thought into wording each agenda clearly and descriptively
  • Socialize your agenda at least 24 hours prior to the meeting
  • Integrate team suggestions or additions into the final agenda
  • Assign each item to the best person to lead that topic
  • Allot each topic the right amount of time to be fully, but concisely covered
  • Enjoy much more efficient and productive meetings with more successful outcomes

 

Visit the blog for more meeting tips, tricks, and community collaboration: http://www.meetingsense.com/blog