Systems

EP 06: The New Way of Laser-Focused, Productive (and Quick!) Meetings

January 25, 2022

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I'm Jillian — Online Business Manager  and encourager for Creatives like you! 

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Join your host, Jillian Dolberry, your “pocket online business manager,” in bi-weekly episodes of The Grace-Filled CEO podcast, the resource you’ve been waiting for to manage all the parts of your life.

Jillian speaks directly to the woman wearing many hats (you know you’re living at least some of them): mom, wife, and caretaker… or boss, a writer, a daughter, a sister, a friend, even a CEO. If you’re going to succeed at any or all of them, it’s going to take a lot of work! And Jillian is here to show you exactly how, with timely conversations and solid resources, sprinkled with a little grace for you, your work, and all of the roles you fill! Find this and more on The Grace-Filled CEO podcast.

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NOT UP FOR LISTENING? READ THE TRANSCRIPT BELOW! 🤓👇

You are listening to episode number 6 of “The Grace-Filled CEO”  I am so excited you are joining me today. Today’s episode is all about a new way of approaching meetings with your team. You are either someone who loves meetings and the connection with you team that you can get through those meetings, or you are someone who loves to connect with your team but can feel so drained by meetings. Which ever side of the fence you fall on, we can all agree that we want them to be productive. So in the interest of boosting productivity on your team and in your business, let’s dive into today’s episode.

Now before we get into today’s episode, I want to share a resource with you that I think you will love!

This episode is sponsored by my free resource, Manage Your Boundaries, Energy, and Time Like a CEO. Because I know you’re a busy woman and you probably don’t have time to read a 50-page e-book or watch a 20 min video, I have summed this resource up in an audio format (with a transcript of course). In addition to that, it comes with a guided diagram to walk you through where you are feeling the tension in your business and action steps to take to resolve it in a healthy way, as well as email scripts to communicate with your clients through points of tension or conflict. Who doesn’t want that?! Feeling that constant pull like you are giving too much of yourself to your clients, but not sure how to NOT do that? Start with this resource. The link is in the show notes!

Alright now let’s get to the show!

We are a couple of weeks into the new year at this point and I don’t know about you, but I am equal parts energized and tired. Can you be both? I don’t know but we are going to go with it! I really feel like you probably feel the same way. This week that I am recording this, I have booked a new client within the first week of the new year which has me so so excited and energized! I also have a sick kid at home, 5 doctor’s appts I will be taking my family to just this week, and about a million personal things happening. Being a CEO mama is not being ON all of the time, making every meeting, and being put together always. It’s the balance between being present for the moments that matter and showing up in your business as yourself. Even if that is 50% energized and 50% fatigued from life.

By no means is this new way of doing meetings groundbreaking. I mean sure, it will help you become more productive, and it may be exactly what your team needs to streamline your meetings. But most importantly, this topic is proof that sometimes we have to do our business our own way. We make it what we need it to be for our families. We show up in ways that reflect who we are and how we can best serve our business.

Trying out this new meeting format works for one client, while it may not work for another, so keep that in mind. If it doesn’t work for you, move on and do what does work for you.

When I tested this out with a client of mine, I was really encouraged because we got through 50% more in our meeting than we had on previous calls. For a while we had been meeting for 30 min calls on zoom. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing her face and getting to connect with her that way. But we never got through our whole agenda, and we were both always faced with the convo of “I have a few more minutes if you do” and going over on time or “Sorry I have to hop off, can we finish these bullet points on Voxer?”

It left us both always feeling like we never got enough accomplished or pressed for time. Neither of those ways propels that productive feeling. Instead, it made us less productive when we felt unproductive. When we didn’t get it all done, we were always in this state of catchup which wasn’t good for either of us and put us in a perpetual state of stress. Have you been there?

So, we tried something new!

We tried having our meeting via Voxer.

If you aren’t familiar with Voxer, it’s a free app that can be used for communication with remote teams. You can send texts, photos, etc. But the main thing is you can use it as a walkie-talkie and talk in real-time. Or you can voice message your team and they can listen when they are available. It’s great for “talking things through” when you aren’t in the same place, or when you can’t meet at the same time.

Here are the ways that we made this work:

WE HAD A MEETING TIME

The way that we used it is we both logged in at the same time. We still had a “meeting time” when we would log in and be available by our phones or computers. I had my Voxer app open and my computer open and ready to take notes. In order for this to increase productivity, we still needed to start on time and know what we were talking about. Which brings me to the next one…

ALWAYS HAVE AN AGENDA

This doesn’t need to go out the window when you switch up the way you’re meeting. You still need structure in your meeting, and you need to know what is going to be accomplished. In our agenda, we keep it simple. We start with checking in – seeing how we are both checking into that meeting. It’s always nice to know where the other person stands. that may have just gotten off a difficult client call, or maybe they aren’t feeling well. It’s good to know these things before we all bring our unique energy to the meeting. When you know how someone is showing up, you have an opportunity to share compassion, cheer them on, or even celebrate something good.

After we check-in, we hit some hot topic bullet points. For us, that is usually general things that we need updates on.

Next, we get down to business and review anything team-related, client-related, and then updates on tasks.

Lastly, we end the call with a review of our focuses for the month so that when we sign off, our goals are at top of mind.

KNOW WHO IS LEADING

Every meeting needs this distinction, but especially when you don’t have the face-to-face cues to know who is talking when it’s always good to have a leader and a “pass-off” system. The leader of the meeting can open the meeting and will review each section and hand of the topic to the next person and let them respond. It works like a conversation, but to keep it very structured, the meeting leader can establish when to move to the next thing in the interest of time. This is kind of like the game of hot potato. The goal is to get it into the next person’s hands so they can respond.

DEFINE WHAT CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED (AND WHAT CAN’T)

When planning out your meeting agenda, this is key. What can you accomplish well in this quick meeting? What needs to be tabled for now? There will always be a long list of things to discuss, but I encourage you to think minimally. If this meeting is going to be quick and super productive, you can’t review or talk about everything. But that’s also okay. You don’t need to. What is the most important thing to address right now? Keep those on your list. Get rid of the rest or put it on another list for a longer meeting time.

TAKE NOTES

Lastly, please take notes. Not doing this will be your Achilles heel because you won’t remember what was said, and you will have to scroll back and listen to all of the convos which is a waste of your time. Make sure there is always one of you taking notes in your shared meeting agenda. You can thank me later. 🙂

OTHER TIPS:

  • If you frequent Voxer with your team or client, it can be helpful before you start your meeting to type and send a text marker that your meeting is about to begin. One way Voxer can be confusing is not knowing when you talked about what. So having a text marker there to say “Weekly Meeting Below” with the date or something and then when the meeting is over “weekly meeting complete” will let you be able to scroll back and relisten if needed.
  • If there was something your team member or client said in the Voxer that you want to come back to, you can “star” a single voice memo to come back to.

You’re probably thinking, wow this sounds great, but is this the right meeting method for me? So, let’s review some pros and cons to be sure.

Pros:

  • More focused
  • It eliminates some of the small talks that can take a lot of time.
  • Very quick
  • Less visual distractions

Cons:

  • No small talk or team culture building
  • Not face to face, can’t read people’s reactions (this could be a good thing? haha!)

So, who is this method for?

Anyone that is looking to cut their weekly meeting times down. this doesn’t mean that you have to do all of your meetings this way. you can do your weekly meetings this way and have one meeting a month that is longer and face to face. As I said, do what YOU need to do here.

Who is this not for?

People who really value that weekly face-to-face time and want to spend over 30 mins of time building rapport face to face weekly.

So, tell me, is this something you are going to try? This may be a new concept for some, so if you have any questions, email me! hello@jilliandolberry.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Alright friends, that is it for this episode! Thanks for joining me today! I appreciate you!

Have you written a review for the podcast yet? If you enjoy the Grace-filled CEO podcast let us know by leaving a review! They’re so helpful in helping other CEOs as you find us. Thanks for listening! Cheering you on always.

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