One Simple Change Could Lead to More Productive Meetings

There are many issues that benefit from the collective discussion that takes place during meetings. But if you’ve ever walked out of a meeting unclear about what, exactly, was accomplished by the discussion, Lynn Gaertner-Johnston’s Business Writing Blog recently suggested that the problem may be in the agenda.

The solution? Add a second point under each discussion item that starts with “outcome:” or “results:”

She offers this example from a planning meeting. Rather than just “Discuss plans for trade show,” the agenda item becomes:

* Discuss plans for trade show.
* Outcomes: (1) Confirm list of activities. (2) Identify who will coordinate each activity. (3) Decide on essential action items for this month.

With this change to each meeting item, it is clear to all attendees not only what needs to happen at the meeting but also what will need to be done and by whom afterward. Now that’s a worthwhile meeting.