How-to: Make meetings more productive
Make meetings more productive
Meetings are a necessary part of how most of us work, yet many of us find them unproductive, or even worse, a waste of time. While you probably can't eliminate meetings from your workflow, Evernote Business can help you and your team make them much more effective and productive.
Here's how to use Evernote Business to make your team's meetings better than ever before.
Write your agenda in Evernote
Have you ever walked into a meeting wondering why you're there and what will be discussed? If you had an agenda beforehand, you'd walk into the meeting ready to contribute. Use Evernote Business to create detailed agendas for your meetings, ensuring everyone finds the time productively spent.
Here's how to create an effective agenda:
Create a new note and title it with the meeting date and topic.In the body of the note, write down the following elements:
- Meeting goals
- Expected outcomes
- A checklist of discussion points
- What each attendee is expected to cover
As you write, you'll automatically see related notes which may show information on the topic at hand from your own Evernote account and from notes shared by team members. This additional context can give everyone a head start for the meeting.
Collect the details
Many meetings require you and your team to discuss projects, documents, or financials, which usually involves more details than you'll want to include in your agenda. Use your meeting agenda note to gather all the relevant details in a single note:
- Internet research gathered with Evernote Web Clipper
- Spreadsheets with budgets and projections
- Images with design concepts
Make agendas easy to find
To make it easy for everyone to find meeting agendas, create a businessnotebook called "Meeting Agendas." Share this notebook with the project team and give them permission to add their own notes and modify yours. This way, each member on your team can add their own agenda items, attach key files, or create new agendas for meetings they're leading.
If you have outside consultants, vendors, or customers attending a meeting, you probably don't want to invite them to your team's Meeting Agendas notebook, as they only need the agenda for the meeting they're attending. To share an agenda externally, click the share icon on the note to share it with them via email or URL. They'll be able to view the agenda in their browser, even if they don't have Evernote yet.
Walk in prepared
Once everyone who is going to be attending your meeting has the agenda, they can review it before and during the meeting on their computer, phone, or tablet. Everyone will know exactly what the meeting is about and what they are expected to contribute.
To make sure everyone stays on track, set a reminder in Evernote to alert your team a day prior to the meeting to spend a few minutes reviewing the meeting agenda.
Say goodbye to slides
As the meeting organizer, you're running the show, so you may be glad to hear you won't need to waste time preparing a slide deck. Instead, use presentation mode to present your meeting agenda full-screen directly from Evernote. All you need to do is connect your device to a large monitor or projector and click the presentation mode icon to present and walk through your agenda. If you've attached images, charts, or other files, those will display full-screen as well. You can even draw attention (literally) to important items with the built-in laser pointer.
Take great notes
Every meeting should have a designated note-taker - someone who takes photos of the whiteboard, notes important discussion points, and writes down decisions and next steps. At every meeting, designate this person and ask them to take notes at the bottom of the shared agenda.
Meeting details they may want to capture in Evernote include:
- Audio recording of the discussion
- Photos of whiteboards
- Handwritten notes on paper
- Brainstorms written on Post-it®Notes
Whether your notes are written in Evernote or captured with a photograph using the app's document camera, everything is quickly searchable so you and your team can easily find what's been saved.
If multiple team members took notes during the meeting, you can merge them together and add them to your main meeting agenda note.
Note: Before using Evernote's audio recording feature to capture any conversation, be sure to understand whether applicable laws require you to obtain permission from anyone you would be recording.
Walk out with clarity
Typically, attendees will have follow-up items from team meetings. Unfortunately, ideas often fly fast and furious in the average meeting, making it hard to keep track of who is responsible for what. At the end of each meeting, ask attendees to review their follow-up action items and ask questions if they're unclear. This ensures everyone is on the same page and can get started with their portion of the project.
A great way to achieve this is to note each person's action items with a checkbox at the bottom of your meeting agenda. As team members complete tasks, they can check their respective boxes, signaling the task is complete. Without having to send a single email, your team can refer to the note to see a project's status. If there are action items requiring time-sensitive follow-up, add a reminder to alert everyone to key deadlines.