If you’re a startup, things may get complicated, especially if you have a team worldwide. It’s because everyone needs to be online simultaneously, encompassing the boundaries of time in different parts of the world, just so you can work together like in an office setup.
Meetings are essential to every company, especially for startups whose employees need to collaborate regularly to attain the company’s objectives. While there are different types of meetings startups need to have, every meeting should be recorded in the form of minutes. But what are meeting minutes and how can these help your subsequent meetings?
Minutes refer to the summary of the topics discussed in a meeting. It contains important details, such as problem analysis, possible solutions, and potential strategies. Also, if you miss any important information, well-recorded minutes can bring you up to speed. Additionally, meeting minutes can help succeeding meetings by providing what were previously discussed, what were agreed upon, and who will complete certain tasks.
Here are the types of meetings that are indispensable to startups:
- Board Meetings
Holding regular board meetings is essential for any startup company because it allows its board members to evaluate the course of the company, identify challenges, and make data-driven decisions. Thus, startups should never skip this type of meeting, especially if there are recurring concerns. Aside from evaluating business performance, this meeting should not lose its primary focus–charting your company’s future.
However, for this meeting to be productive, all participants should prepare in advance. They should acquaint themselves with the issues to be discussed so they can think of possible solutions. This pre-meeting preparation ensures everyone collaborates and communicates properly. Here are ways to maximize your meeting:
- Send The Meeting Agenda In Advance
Sending out a meeting agenda beforehand is critical because every participant needs to be familiar with the topics to be discussed. This enables them to prepare better for the upcoming meeting. With this, they may be able to present clear facts and figures, brilliant solutions, and other creative ideas that could help the company address current challenges.
- Indicate Items For Follow-Up
An essential part of a meeting is to identify items that need urgent attention. This is particularly important if the other board members work elsewhere and you can’t easily communicate with them most of the time. Thus, items for follow-up should be clearly indicated in the minutes so board members are reminded accordingly as soon as they get a copy of the minutes.
- Brainstorming Sessions
There are tough and fast-moving competitors that startups just can’t afford to ignore. To ensure a startup’s competitive edge, it’s a must to have regular brainstorming sessions with your team members and continually explore ways to improve your product (or services) and make your company stand out. With such sessions, your business will be able to stay ahead of your rivals.
Unlike board meetings, brainstorming sessions don’t have a precise structural flow. First, you need to gather various ideas from the team. The next step is to extract the good ideas from the bad, finetune them, and develop concepts and strategies for a marketing campaign.
To make your brainstorming session more productive, consider doing the following tips beforehand.
- Define The Problem
Participants should be made aware of the problem that the brainstorming session will focus on. It should be concrete enough so they can think of possible solutions to address the problem. Setting the timeframe is also vital because it sets limits on possible solutions. There are short-term solutions and long-term ones, and it would be good for the members of your team to know if you’re open to either one or both.
- Set Clear Expectations
How do you expect the meeting to flow? Are all participants expected to present their ideas? This should be made clear to the participants so they can come up with original ideas for the meeting. Furthermore, the meeting facilitator should be objective, encouraging the free flow of ideas (even those that won’t make it to the cut) and keeping outspoken participants from dominating the discussion.
- Onboarding Meetings
Onboarding typically consists of a series of meetings to orient new hires and teach them how to become efficient members of the team. This should be done in a face-to-face meeting or through video conferencing to give them the chance to ask questions about anything that might be unclear to them.
To make onboarding meetings as effective as possible, you may consider these tips:
- Discuss Your Goals
During their first week, newly hired staff may be bombarded by a series of meetings. They may not understand at first what those meetings are all about. To give them proper perspective, discuss the goal of each meeting. With this, they’ll be able to better process each phase of the onboarding process.
- Limit Attendance To Key Members
The entire team doesn’t need to be present during the onboarding process. Only key members of the team such as the training facilitators and supervisors should be part of this meeting. With this, the rest of the team could devote their time to more important things.
- Kickoff Meetings
The primary goal of kickoff meetings is to introduce new products or services to new clients or with the project team. During this meeting, the project team will answer all questions regarding the new products and services and discuss further details.
As exciting it may seem, kickoff meetings could be intimidating at first since you’ll be discussing in front of the client. That’s why it is important to have everything prepared in advance before the session starts. Here are some tips to make your kickoff meetings run smoothly:
- Create Visual Presentations
It is helpful for every meeting, especially in kickoffs, to have a powerful presentation. Whether your clients are new or not, giving a well-prepared presentation leaves a good impression and covers the essential details.
Also, you can create virtual presentations for your team members across the globe. With such presentations, your clients may review them and get back to you in case they have questions on certain points.
- Prepare The Team Before The Meeting
Since you’re presenting products and services to your clients, it’s critical to ensure that every detail is prepared to perfection. This is to prevent any mistakes that won’t sit well with your potential clients.
As much as possible, provide the members of your project team with the necessary materials for them to review so they can anticipate possible questions the clients may ask and be prepared to give a clear answer.
Meetings serve as a venue to formulate new ideas, share thoughts and opinions, and address challenges the company is currently facing. However, a meeting isn’t all about discussing facts and figures with each other. It’s about looking at the same thing from different perspectives, achieving the same goals, and planning for the company’s future.
Furthermore, well-prepared and active participants are key to a productive meeting. To achieve this, make sure to inform the participants about the meeting beforehand so they’ll be able to contribute more meaningfully.