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How To Run Effective Meetings
Your time is valuable, don't waste it talking in circles.
Hey, I’m Ben! I write weekly about how to grow products and companies. I go deep on growth strategies, how to build products users love, and what actionable lessons can be learned from what best-in-class companies are doing and industry experts are saying.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Having strong soft skills is an underrated advantage for building great products. Effective communication is crucial, whether you’re trying to drive confidence and alignment internally, with clients, with investors, or someone else entirely.
This is especially true when running meetings. How many hour-long meetings have you sat through where nothing was accomplished? This is not a good use of your valuable time and disorganization reflects poorly on you if you’re trying to win over a client or an investor.
There are only so many hours in a day and wasting time in meetings like that is not where I want to spend my time; I’m sure it’s not where you want to spend yours either. Today, I’ll be walking you through a meeting-running framework I use to ensure I get the most out of each meeting.
The framework is simple but effective. It’s as follows: introduction, context, purpose, agenda, and meeting. Put it all together and you get a not-so-catchy acronym: ICPAM.
Introduction: Not every meeting needs this, but if there are parties in the meeting that don’t know each other, take the time to do a round of introductions so everyone knows who everyone else in the conversation is.
Context: To have a productive conversation, everyone needs to have access to the necessary information. Set the context early; describe what led to the meeting and outline any constraints, variables, etc. that are important for everyone to be aware of.
Purpose: Very specifically and openly describe what you are there to accomplish that day. This is helpful both to set the stage for the group and also to steer the conversation back to its purpose if it gets off track. If everyone is aware of what the purpose is, it’s easier to keep the conversation centered around that purpose.
Agenda: Outline how you plan to structure the conversation. At the end, ask if there is anything anyone feels is missing If there is, add it to the end of the agenda.
Meeting: Dive in and have the conversation!
Following this framework helps maximize productivity within meetings but it’s still up to you to guide the conversation, keep folks on track, and accomplish your goals. Depending on the meeting, I also highly recommend sending a pre-read 24 hours (or more) ahead of time so that everyone is primed for the conversation and you can make the most of the time.
I hope you found this helpful - I’ll see you all on Friday!
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