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Do you feel a lack of control over how much time you spend in meetings? Avoid dragged-out meetings with better tools to prepare, lead, and follow up after your team's next meeting. Download our latest Meeting & Agenda (Part 4) template collection to sync your team members and increase overall work efficiency.

The template includes tools like operational cadence, meeting checklists, session minutes, meeting feedback, meeting dashboards, stakeholder overviews, presenter schedule, team brainstorming sheets, meeting follow-up instructions and meeting criteria breakdown. Plus, watch the full explainer video to learn how much time we spent in meetings in 2021 and Microsoft's breakdown of the ideal meeting length.

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Tool highlights Tool highlights

Operational cadence

Meeting cadence is the pace, number, and pace of meetings across your organization. This Operational cadence slide provides a high-level summary of your team's meeting cadence. It outlines a full year's worth of meetings at a glance, with color-coded dots to determine whether the meeting will be a one-on-one, goal review, performance review or career conversation. Most useful for managers, this visualization can be used to schedule reviews and track meetings with individual team members on a consistent basis.

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For instance, execs can track quarterly reviews, plan performance reviews for every six months, or even plan out raises, promotions, or role change conversations well in advance. These meetings can be one-on-ones between managers and associates or skip-level meetings where an associate meets with a director or executive above their immediate manager. (Slide 27)

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Meeting checklist

A meeting checklist tool is helpful for both those who organize meetings and attendees who want to prepare for a meeting ahead of time. This checklist visualization covers what execs need to prepare for ahead of a meeting, to plan for during the meeting, and to follow up on after a meeting so that each meeting is productive and short.

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If you're the meeting lead, you can use this list to hold yourself accountable to your plan while the meeting is ongoing. You can also share it with other team members to set expectations for what the meeting will include. This checklist is customizable to be edited for whatever tasks are most important for you to check off. (Slide 3)

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Session minutes

As you conduct your meetings, it's helpful to take notes and detail what each meeting will cover with session minutes. This session minutes slide breaks down an agenda into different time segments that are united by various session goals. Session minutes can be used to set objectives for a meeting and record decisions for follow-up actions.

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A color-coded flag system allows execs to indicate whether a particular session will be remote only, remote and offline, or completely offline. This is helpful for post-pandemic meeting plans since workplace structures have changed and many meetings these days are virtual. (Slide 12)

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Meeting feedback

After you conclude a meeting, it's vital to follow up on any decisions made to ensure the meeting's conclusions lead to action. If you plan to revisit the topic for another session, or plan to run a workshop, training program, or even a convention, you will want to poll your attendee's and gather their thoughts with a feedback form. The meeting planners are responsible to fill out the questions, while attendees fill out the form and move the checkmarks to rate each question from poor to great. (Slide 21)

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Meeting dashboard

Lastly, a meeting dashboard can help execs keep track of all their upcoming meetings at a weekly, daily, and monthly view all at once. This visualization provides a calendar to detail where you are in the year. An overview at the top provides how many meetings are scheduled, rescheduled, or canceled at a glance. In the today section, you can track what meetings you have upcoming, the times for each, and the members attending. And a reminder section in the bottom left can be used to jot notes. (Slide 30)

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Case study: Microsoft

These tools help you better prepare ahead of a meeting to spend less time in them. This is important, as Microsoft found that the average number of meetings increased in 2021. In a survey of 30,000 workers, Microsoft found the time spent in Microsoft teams increased by 2.5x around the world, and the average meeting is now 10 minutes longer, with 45% more chats per week and 42% more chats per hour. This extra time has led to "overwork" feelings and burnout. Microsoft also found that fatigue sets in after 30 to 40 minutes of concentration. That's why the company recommends to cap meetings at 25 minutes or at most 50 minutes with a 5-minute break in the middle to give brains time to recharge.

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Conclusion

If 25 minutes feels too short to you, you need better preparation. Download this Meeting & Agenda (Part 4) collection for more slides on stakeholder overviews, presenter schedules, team brainstorming sheets, meeting follow-up instructions and meeting criteria breakdowns to save time and hours of work. Plus, you can download our earlier Meeting & Agenda (Part 2) and Meetings & Agendas (Part 3) frameworks for more slides.

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