Use the Oat M(ilk) framework to make the most out of meetings

TL: DR;

Before the meeting (OAT)

After the meeting (M(ilk))

Why is maximizing meetings important?

First things first. Ask yourself: does the meeting require real-time interaction?

Before the meeting (OAT)

Step 1. OUTCOMES: Dot out clear desired outcomes and meeting agendas.

  1. Try organizing the meeting agenda as a set of questions. By framing agenda items into questions, you have a better sense of who really has to be invited to the meeting that are relevant to questions. And by doing this, you know when to end the meeting after all the questions have been answered.
  2. The questions can focus on goals, roadblocks, opportunities or future directions.

Step 2. AUDIENCE: As a meeting host, make a line between required and optional invitees; do not over-invite.

  1. Do not include everyone who you are unsure they will have a contribution in the meeting. If the meeting has more than ~7 people, it creates a social loafing where people are reluctant to voice out their opinions.

Step 3. TIME: Be intentional with the meeting time.

  1. Avoid defaulting to the 30-minute or an hour-long meeting unless it’s truly needed, especially given something called Parkinson’s law. Parkinson’s law is the idea that work expands to fill whatever time is allotted to it. Don’t hesitate to make your meetings 25 or 45 minutes, etc. Being intentional with how much time would be required to complete the agenda items would be appreciated by the invitees.

After the meeting (M(ilk))

Step 4. MOMENTUM: Leave meetings with clear next steps and owners.

  1. End the meeting on time. Never be afraid to end early if the goals have been met or if people are spinning their wheels to a point where the meeting is no longer productive. Or regroup if you feel the energy is dragging or find a more effective channel to further discuss.
  2. End on a positive note and synthesize the meeting with aligned next steps, deadlines, and owners whenever possible. As a meeting host, you might consider assigning responsibilities and then discussing if the assignment makes sense. The meeting note could be shared with everyone who attended the meeting, or those who couldn’t attend (How to run effective meetings, Slack).
  3. If possible, consider surveying folks who regularly attend your meetings–just a simple stop, start, continue type survey to gather feedback that enables you to better hone your meeting skills.

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Sujin Park

My long-term vision is to make a positive impact on society, and sharing my learnings via blogs is one of the endeavors to make my vision a reality.