Before setting out on our startup journey, we were part of the corporate environment. Here’s what we learned about meetings during those years and how JayPads help with this madness.
1.Before you start, ask yourself one question: What do you want to accomplish with this meeting? This determines everything, from the right participants, to the time slot needed, to the date and agenda. Get this nailed down. Again: What is the desired output of this meeting? How long will it roughly take to achieve this output? More than 60 minutes? Start over and narrow down. This is a very crucial point and the one which might be skipped most often. We cannot (and honestly might not want to for the sake of sanity) count the hours we wasted in badly prepared meetings.
2. Who absolutely necessarily needs to participate in this meeting in order to achieve the output you need? The common stance seems to be “the more people, the better” or “the more people, the more important” — well, we love to break it to you: This is not true. Not at all. Quite frankly the opposite holds true. So do yourself and everybody else a huge favour and decide very carefully who absolutely needs to be present. When in doubt: Do not invite.
Important: Does this meeting lend itself for a conference call? This normally has implications on the date/time and thus adds flexibility — but at the cost of effectivity if the call goes sideways. This is the moment when we shall take a few minutes and dwell in memories of all those conference calls we had the pleasure of participating in.
3. Set up a JayPad. Start by adding the agenda and a template for your meeting minutes. Why? Because this will set the tone for the whole thing. You are going to get things done and this is what you will show.
Regarding meeting minutes, you should keep this in mind: Writing a word for word transcript does not get anything done for anybody. It might make sense if you need them as a means of a cover-my-ass strategy but it certainly is not helping your case (which you narrowed down at step 1). The most important information for anyone wanting to revisit this in a couple weeks or months is why you met, who met, what you decided and what the next steps were you guys defined. That. Is. It.
And if you seriously need to pin down everything word for word, you might reconsider the working environment of your choice.
4. Invite the participants. Now that you have set up your JayPad and with it the agenda as well as a sense of urgency/planning. You can invite the others. Just add participants directly via invite function or share the URL via messenger or email.
5. Now that you have your team on board, find a date which fits everybody. Poll availabilities and time slots via the date finder function.
If you need to decide on a location as well, you can poll different alternatives and set this in a matter of clicks.
Additionally, you have a group chat. If there is something which needs to be discussed beforehand — maybe you did not nail down the agenda completely or a more urgent topic came up short term — use the group chat which lets you do this quickly and saves tons of emails or calls.
6. During your meeting — and we are dead serious with this point — find a time keeper. Someone needs to take responsibility for accomplishing the targeted output and manage the group through this meeting. Otherwise you leave this to chance. Everybody in the history of mankind who had the pleasure of taking part in corporate meetings knows how people (the male portion seems to be especially prone) just hijack these and let them become personal branding showcases. Do not let this happen. Having set the tone beforehand and only inviting those absolutely necessary was a first step and brought you at least halfway there.
Just have the JayPad open and fill in the minutes simultaneously.
7. Roundup. This is the part which will make your life so much easier: JayPads are a mix of group chat and notes. Having everybody in this meeting board gives participants instant access to the same minutes, to-dos, decisions and enables further discussions if need be. If there is something to discuss afterwards the chat will save a ton of emails. Likewise you will not need to send out an additional document covering said minutes. Enjoy the saved time and kept sanity.
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