Make The Most of Your Meetings 🤝

June 10, 2024

Bits of advice from a straightforward, no-BS freelance designer who loves 1h meetings or less.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

This could have been an email

After the working-from-home era, we can’t return to the boring and unproductive meetings we used to have. Let's make it count if you are making me turn on the camera. Okay?

Secret sauce: It is not about the length but the timing and focus!

Side note:

Also if you didn’t know, I help professionals polish their English speaking skills on a platform called, and during our lessons, we have touched on the subjects of meetings many times. During one of those weeks, I also happen to have impromptu meetings. How do I manage to make them count? Let’s see when and how meetings can help us improve our projects even if we don’t have much time to prepare.

Question for you: When do you think meetings are a must?

When the meeting is essential?

You start a project. You need to contact a developer as soon as possible so they can begin working on the idea you have in mind. You would probably be surprised to know that while you are looking for a developer you should also search for a designer. As first-time entrepreneurs, it happens that they neglect the power of consulting with a designer to make their vision come to life. You need designers who will conduct research, understand and translate visually your business objectives, help you polish your strategy and finally help you envision your ideas with the help of design tools and platforms you might not know of.

If you decide to use AI for developing rapid user interfaces, that is fine, but keep in mind that you might not get the best compatibility with what your developers can execute. And ultimately what your paying users want or need. 👀

The magic happens when UX design, development, and marketing teams come together. Especially, at the beginning of the project, getting the requirements and the big picture together, brainstorming with questions, paraphrasing, and visually explaining what we mean by *insert complicated term or abbreviation of your choice*. Let's face it, we may have heard all the fancy terms and abbreviations, but what’s important is if we understand them in the context of our project.

How to improve the quality of your meetings?

And now for the end some actionable suggestions for how to make the most out of your meetings:

  • 📋 Establish clear agendas: Start each meeting with a well-defined agenda summarising key discussion points. Use those magical bullet points! This not only keeps the conversation focused but also helps participants come prepared with either questions or supporting materials, which also ensures that time is used efficiently. It also reduces anxiety from the unexpected.
  • 🗣️ Encourage active participation: Try to create a meeting environment where every team member feels empowered to contribute. Encourage and include team members in open dialogue, ask for opinions, and actively seek input and feedback from all stakeholders to gather the collective insights of the team.
  • Time for your meetings: Respect everyone’s time by setting clear start and end times for meetings. Don’t forget to include the usual weather chat and closing few minutes. This not only demonstrates your commitment to efficiency but also encourages attendees to stay engaged and on topic. (Point of view of the organiser of the meeting)
  • 💻 If possible use visual examples: Visual aids like diagrams, flowcharts, or slides can help illustrate complex ideas and keep the discussion engaging. Use them to break down complex topics into simpler, more digestible pieces. For example, after conducting thorough user testing I asked FigJam’s AI assistant to summarise the insights and then used those to create easy-to-comprehend slides with the takeaways of the usability texting so my client could get the answer to his initial questions straightway.
  • 📌 Follow up with action items (most important step): Conclude each meeting by summarizing key takeaways and assigning actionable tasks. This guarantees that the discussions translate into concrete actions, moving the project forward. For this step, I often use my fresh notes from the meeting and run them with either ChatGPT or Perplexity over what would be the best to do next.
  • 🛠️ Get the collaboration tools to work for you: Whether it’s project management tools (Trello, Asana or other), video conferencing platforms, or shared documents, using the right tools can streamline communication and keep everyone on the same page.
  • 📚 Encourage pre-meeting preparation: Send out materials or topics before the meeting to allow participants to familiarise themselves with the content. This can significantly reduce the length of the meeting when everyone comes with an understanding of the topic discussed.

Bonus technique which I use in my teachings as well: 🚗 “Parking Lot” Technique: When a topic arises that’s not directly related to the meeting’s objectives, use the “parking lot” technique, by writing down the topic and setting it aside for further discussion at a later time. This helps keep the meeting on track and prevents unnecessary digressions.


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