Have better meetings with a cute PANDA

Remember that meeting that made you feel like this:

A panda can help you make yours 100 times better and here’s how.

First of all, before any meeting you should ask yourself: Could this meeting be an email? When in doubt, write an email and see if people ask for a follow up meeting. 9 times out of 10 they won’t.

If you do have a meeting, then have a meeting PANDA with you, because a) everyone loves pandas and b) everyone loves acronyms. That’s the law. Look it up.

How to go from sad panda to happy panda in all your meetings!

P is for purpose. What is the purpose of this meeting. You can also think of it as the goal or the desired outcome. Include it into your invite so people can decide if they need to or want to join. It helps you craft a better agenda and facilitate the meeting with a clear focus.

A is for agenda. Craft your agenda in advance and include it in your invite as well. It helps to manage expectations, gives invitees a chance to prepare and again, it helps you to facilitate your meeting well. When creating your agenda keep in mind that everything takes a little longer than you think, so if if you think, let’s say, the discussion of a certain topic will take 10 minutes, add 15 to your agenda.

N is for note-taking. Have a designated note taker. This shouldn’t be the person running the meeting. It does not have to be a complete protocol, just make sure you capture the following two things especially. The meeting notes should be easily accessible for all invitees and everyone who could be interested in the topic, this can mean Confluence, Slack, G-Drive or whatever your company uses to store information.

D is for decisions. Make sure everyone in the meeting understands the decisions that are being made. State them in a clear and unambiguous way. Someone couldn’t make it, they should be able to understand the decisions made, even more so if they have an impact on their work. Don’t only capture the things you will do, also write down what you won’t do and why.

A is for action items. Is there anything to be done? Then write down some tangible action items, set deadlines if possible and assign to one responsible person. That doesn’t mean they have to do all the work but they will be the one to ensure that whatever we agreed on gets done. It’s easy to set and forget. Check back about those action items in your next meeting.

If there are no decisions to be made or action items to be created, your meeting can probably be an email, see above.

That is my meeting PANDA 🐼 - it has helped me create and run better meetings, remotely and in-person. Try it yourself and enjoy this overly cute panda. Until next time.

Product strategist, decision facilitator, team enabler, problem solver, design sprinter, agile enthusiast, intersectional feminist.

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