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Episode 013: Don’t Suck at Meetings Show Notes

But first…

PERSONAL RANT ALERT: I think that meetings to EXCHANGE information (unless it’s a really big announcement) are a huge waste of time. Meetings that are meant for brainstorming or collaboration are energizing and amazing. The others are a snooze-fest. What’s even worse is that you are taking people away from the “real” work so in order to meet deadlines and expectations they work late into the night or over the weekend.

The Mamas at The Cause Cafe are here to rescue you from bad, stinky cheese meetings. So let’s do this!

  • If you think your meetings go on and on consider implementing
    “Stand Up” meetings. It’s a military thing and it works.
  • Unless it’s a question to clarify something, you can request that
    people reserve questions for another time or better yet, have
    questions sent to you by email.
  • I love shoes! REALLY love them. But I had to impose a limit on myself. If I purchase a new pair of shoes, I have to move an older pair out. Meetings are the same. If you have two weekly meetings scheduled – let’s say one for staff and one for your executive team, and someone wants to add another meeting first ask them if you can add it to the agenda of the two standing, scheduled meetings. If that can’t or shouldn’t be done, then ask see about canceling one of your scheduled meetings (send an email instead – everyone will thank you).
  • If you’re not 10 minutes early to a meeting, you’re late.
  • Don’t be a Monopolizing Monger. This means that you don’t always have to share every thought, idea, or solution that pops into your head. If you are worried that you are That Person, the next time a question is asked count to 10 slowly before you provide an answer. I’ve learned that some people process information quickly and some take more time to process and come up with a solution or comment. Give other people the opportunity to participate. If you’re worried that you won’t get that really great idea out there, write it down and share it by email later. This will not only make you a better listener
    but your credibility will improve because you took time with your
  • For the LOVE… use AGENDA. 3M did a study of 900 meetings held in different US companies and found that 69% did not use an agenda.
  • And uhhh… make sure that someone is in charge. We need a leader in the meeting to moderate, encourage, provide clarity, and summarize.
  • Smartphones in presentations are acceptable… not so in meeting. Put your darn device away.
  • Do not criticize or discipline an employee in a meeting. There are no bad ideas… they are just ideas at this point. Write EVERY idea down on a whiteboard – ideas are the springboard to MORE! M = Mind-Blowing, C = Creative, O = Openness, R = Respect, and E = Energy.
  • Asana, a work and productivity application, suggests that every organization establish one day a week as a “no meeting” day so that employees can have an uninterrupted day or work.
  • Once around the room! Give everyone the opportunity to speak at the end of the meeting by saying, “Okay once around the room. Does anyone have anything to add? We’ll start with you _____.” Most will have nothing to add but sometimes you end up with a insightful, really helpful comment.
  • Someone has to take notes (AKA minutes) especially if tasks are to be assigned. It keeps everyone awake and honest about their assignments and deadlines.

BONUS: Favorite Apps – Digital Marketing Meeting Tools

Slack could significantly reduce meetings and your
nonprofit and may even replace email. It’s basically a cloud-based program and app that let’s your employees create groups or workspaces to talk to each other, share files, send notifications and more. The other great benefits of Slack are that you can create channels or basically conversations around different topics. This means that you’re only inviting certain people to specific channels based on who really needs to be there. Also you can send direct messages to people while you are engaged in chatting with
everyone in your channel.

Example: you ask for an update on an upcoming event in your Slack
channel. The other employees who have been invited to the event channel are immediately notified that you have asked a question. They jump in and respond, collaborate, clarify. While this is happening, you realize that the website has not been changed to reflect a change to the event. So you send a direct message to Mr. IT to fix it ASAP while the channel conversation is ongoing.

Rally lets you create a simple, straightforward poll where
attendees can vote on a day for an event that works best for them. It also includes an open comment section on the meeting page, so attendees can plan the meeting agenda or discuss details before the event. lets you work directly from Gmail
and Google Calendar to select available meeting times and share those open slots with the person you’re trying to schedule a meeting with.

Pick automatically scans everyone’s Gmail calendars to find open slots, and then delivers a list of mutually available times. You can then send a calendar invite to all attendees directly from the app.

Calendly integrates directly with your Google or Office 365 calendar, and gives you a personalized URL where people can view your availability and schedule times to meet you. They offer a basic free plan,and a paid premium plan that allows for group scheduling and other additional features.

If you’re looking for a change of scenery to pump up your staff consider hosting an off-site meeting. is like the AirBNB for meeting spaces.

Or check out Kapow. This website provides direct “corporate events in non-traditional venues” booking tool in 21 U.S. cities. Group activities include team building, in-store retail events, entertainment tickets, cocktail receptions and dining experiences.

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