Creative Business Breakdown Podcast | Episode 24 - How to Make Meetings Productive AND Enjoyable

We love meetings! As gross as that may sound to most, our meeting time is actually one of the highlights of my week! In fact, we spent most of our day in meetings before recording this podcast episode. We came out of our meeting time feeling excited, motivated, and ready to take on the world!

Because we know that not everyone appreciates meetings in the same way we do, we decided to record this episode where we share a few of our tips and tricks on how you can make the most of your meetings and ideas for how you can make them fun as well! We want you to enjoy the behind the scenes part of your business (including meetings) as much as we do.

Here are a few of the tips that we shared during this episode that make our meeting time for enjoyable and more productive:

  • Procrastination Can Be Productive. I know how ridiculous and counterintuitive that sounds, but sometimes putting off conversations about big topics is for the best. We take our time to make sure we are in the right headspace before covering the BIG topics. Instead of spending weeks debating the little details of a large project we often put our conversations off until we are closer to our deadline. That way we have a better idea of what we actually want to do instead of changing our minds several times.  We take time on our own to think about what we really want.  We also have so much going on that we sometimes need to just take those big topics with distant deadlines off the table so we can focus on the here and now. Rachel and I both know that we work very well under pressure. Having a limited timeframe in which to work helps us to put our ideas out on paper with less hesitation than we normally would and stick to a plan that we know will work instead of testing for multiple ideas and wasting our very precious and limited time.
  • Let It Breathe.  If your ideas don’t feel right in the moment or you’re struggling to come up with a solution (or the right solution), give your thoughts and ideas space to breathe. Table the discussion and come back to it when you have a fresh perspective and can tackle things effectively.  Sometimes taking time to “sleep on it” really is the best solution.
  • Communication. Keep open lines of communication throughout your week, not just during meeting times, so that you can address smaller issues as they come up through a different means of communication. Rachel and I love using Slack and Google Drive to keep track of all of our business related issues. Slack is like text messaging on steroids. It is an awesome tool that we use to communicate not only with each other but with our entire team. Rachel and I are almost always on Slack.  We keep in touch by sending quick messages throughout our week so that we can get down to the real business when we are in our meetings together in person
  • Pre-planning.  We spend more time usually prepping for our meetings independently than we do actually meeting.  We create outlines for every single meeting that we have using google docs. Rachel and I each make notes within the outline ahead of time  so that we can write down our thoughts and put them down in one place so that when we get into our meeting we have a plan. This also helps us get those tough conversations started and at least out in the open so we each have time to think about what we want to say or how to handle particularly tricky situation before we sit down in a meeting together.  This tactic has proved especially helpful in meetings with our team members.  If they take time to create an outline for their supervision or meeting, we can cover a lot more ground and tackle some of the more difficult topics without the pressure of having to bring things up verbally.
  • Write it down. During our meetings we use the outline that we have pre-determined to run our meeting and keep us on track. We add to our outline with specific notes on each topic during our meeting so that we can go back and track our progress and what we’ve talked about in each meeting together. We try to write down everything even though we may not use some of art ideas immediately. That way we can look back a year from now and see what we talked about or even pull from those ideas or thoughts that we may have had. Writing things down also helps us to task out what needs to be accomplished. We will often put our names next to individual tasks as a reminder of who is going to take care of whatever the coming week.
  • Tools. We use a variety of tools to help us stay on track and organized.  Slack is used for daily messages and quick responses.  We can also share documents and pictures as well as creating separate posts. The best part is, it’s ALL SEARCHABLE!!! We use Google Docs to create meeting notes, Trello to create outlines of our podcast episodes, and messenger for all personal, nonbusiness things. I love having separate outlets for each part of our business.  It helps me stay in the right mindset!
  • Set Expectations. We hold ourselves to a certain standards during meetings we expect a certain level of standards from each other that we meet with.  We expect each other to be prepared, honest, and efficient during our meeting time together. We value our time together and want to see our business thrive.  By maintaining those 3 standards, we accomplish a great deal during a short window of time and we leave every meeting with a positive feeling and with a clear idea of what needs to happen next.
  • Have Fun! Because we spend so much time preparing for meetings, we have the opportunity to spend more time talking about the personal side of our lives and catching up!  We also try to keep a positive energy and attitude because it helps everything run more smoothly.  One of the ways we make meetings more comfortable is by making a space we love being in!  That means cozy chairs and pillows for all!
  • Reward yourself! I love our long meeting days because I know they will always end in Chipotle!  It is one of the little ways we make our meeting times feel good!  Even after a long days of talking about tough stuff, we make sure we take the time to go get good food that we LOVE! Treat yo’ self.

We’d love to hear more from you on how you make meetings more enjoyable! Let us know if you have any questions or topics you would like to hear us cover in the next episode.

Until Next Time,
Katey & Rachel