Better Meetings Through Record Keeping

Meetings occupy a unique place in distributed and remote-heavy work cultures, says Safia Abdalla in a recent issue of Increment. “In addition to their functional purpose, they’re a valuable source of social interaction and can provide real relief from the monotony of our conversations with ourselves.” However, she says, “meetings that feel like wasted time aren’t just bad for our calendars, they’re bad for our souls.”  

A simple step that can improve the experience, Abdalla says, is good record keeping. “Leaving a meeting with a record, a physical representation of what happened, can help ensure that the time spent in the meeting feels more fulfilling and meaningful.”

Without a record of what happened, she notes, “we don’t have useful artifacts to guide further action. Whether 30 minutes or two hours, the time spent in these discussions is unfulfilling, lost, and—dare I say—depleting.” 

Good recordkeeping can also reveal other aspects of interaction. As Abdalla says, “Records highlight (sometimes uncomfortably) which voices dominate the conversation—and which ones don’t. This can encourage the listeners to speak and the speakers to listen. When we’re intentional about ensuring even participation, we make sure that everyone’s achievements are highlighted.” 

Additionally, she says, “when one of the goals of the meeting is to produce a record of the event, it becomes easier to enforce guidelines that showcase everyone’s contributions.”

Read the complete article at Increment.