The coronavirus chronicles: After meeting matters

MORE than ever, we’ve suddenly found ourselves swamped with meetings—endless virtual meetings that leave you zoomed out; and from time to time, face to face meetings that seem to go on forever.

Perhaps the fact that many of us are still working from home has given us the false sense of having more time on our hands, hence that tendency to schedule one zoom meeting after the other.

While we certainly clock in many meeting hours, are these really productive?  In an article in Inc.com, Peter Economy says that in a survey some years ago, “Microsoft found that people spend 5.6 hours a week in meetings and that 71 percent of American workers said that the meetings that they participate in aren’t very productive.”

That’s because “if you’re especially busy, your meetings will be stacked. And if you’re rushing to different offices every hour, the time you have after one meeting is that much more important, as you may jet off to the next one and forget about the previous get-together entirely.

What we don’t seem to realize is that after every meeting it is good to relax and reflect on what has transpired, and do what has to be done. The time we spend after a meeting is more critical to your success than you recognize. And it is important not to waste a minute of it.

Here, Economy shares with us “4 Essential Things to Do Right After an Important Business Meeting essential for maximum productivity.”

After all, “when you effectively utilize the short period of time immediately after significant business discussions, you will be destined for productivity and success,” he says.

1. Send out meeting notes right away

Meeting notes are helpful for us who have a full day or have to rush from one meeting to another.  It is a record of what occurred and will guide attendees and non-attendees as they move forward.

“Your notes should capture the conversation of the meeting, as well as document all crucial agreements made,” says Economy.  “Sharing meeting notes makes those who were absent feel included. And inform all on what has to be accomplished.”

He urges us though, to “allow meeting participants to move forward by sending meeting notes as soon as possible.”  After all, “how helpful are meeting notes if they are shared a week or two later.”  Perhaps the meeting host or an assigned secretary should take care of this.

2. Follow up

While a business meeting can be productive and have everyone excited about current and future projects, it certainly does not end there. For maximum productivity and follow through, Economy suggests to be sure to follow up after the meeting is done.

Although you may be working with a group of self-starters, “remember that busy workers can be pulled in different directions, and may be working on other projects.

If you want your projects finished in time, Economy suggests that we “consistently follow up with meeting members to ensure they are held accountable for their commitments and that their ideas and assigned actions do not fail by the wayside.”

3. Organize minutes

While sending notes is crucial after every meeting, “it is equally wise to file away and organize copies of agendas and reports.” Organizing notes will assist us in recalling what was discussed, especially when we have to make decisions.

This is especially crucial when you are working from home, and there is a possibility that office and personal notes may mix. It would be good to have digital or physical folders stored in a designated place for this purpose.

4. Stay available and open

Meetings do not really end when we stand up and leave the room (for face to face meetings), or click away (for virtual meetings). It’s important to keep in touch as “communication is key for team and project success.”

Economy urges us to “stay connected—answer e-mail and your phone, ask questions when needed.” We should communicate to let our team members know we are available for help should they need it.

PR Matters is a roundtable column by members of the local chapter of the United Kingdom-based International Public Relations Association (Ipra), the world’s premier association for senior professionals around the world. Millie Dizon, the senior vice president for Marketing and Communications of SM, is the former local chairman.

We are devoting a special column each month to answer the reader’s questions about public relations.  Please send your comments and questions to askipraphil@gmail.com.

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