Next time, she applied structure to the meeting. She sent out an invitation with some instructions for the team, and began the meeting like this:
‘Hi everyone, I’m glad we could all get together today.
Could you please all put your video on - the official part of this meeting is just 20 minutes long. I’m going to start by giving you an update on what I’m currently focused on, then I’m going to tell you one thing that’s worked really well for me over the last week, and one thing which I have found difficult.
Then, I’d like to go around the team, as explained in my email and ask you to unmute yourself in turn and give us a 2-minute update - one thing that’s worked for you, and one thing that’s been difficult.
At the end of that, we’ll have 5 minutes for anyone to make any suggestions which might help with any of the problems they’ve heard. Then we’re officially done, but I’ll leave the meeting running for another ten minutes in case there’s anything else anyone wants to catch-up on.'
Giving her team clearer instructions actually made it much easier for them to have a free-flowing, spontaneous conversation and she found that the ten minutes at the end wasn’t enough, as her team were enjoying the conversation so much.
A ‘behaviour agenda’ works well for nearly all meetings and presentations. A presenter speaking to a large number of people might begin:
‘Good morning everyone, there are 30 of us on the call today, so to keep things simple you’re all muted at the moment. I’m going to present an overview of where we’re at for about 10 minutes, and then I’ll take some questions. You can either type your questions into the chat bar, as I go, or just raise your hands when we come to questions and I’ll unmute you …’
Starting with a structured agenda will help in many ways - it boosts your credibility, as it’s clear that you’re prepared and ready. It also helps gain the trust of the audience, since they feel like they’re in safe hands. It keeps meetings shorter, more relevant and more focused.
Starting with this kind of agenda also helps boost your confidence, as it’s very easy to do and once you’ve done it, you’re ‘warmed-up’ and ready to get into the main content.