One thing we all do in business is attend meetings. Often we're at the sharp end - taking notes, running the agenda and assigning actions. How often do key activities get missed when you're writing up a meeting? Isn't it a chore to format the actions and send them out (by sending a link to the document held centrally, of course!) only to have your colleagues read through, capture their actions and have them log those actions into whatever system they are using.
At the next meeting you go back through the same meeting minutes, get the list of actions, go round the table and hear what progress has been made and then start the whole palaver over again with this meeting's business.
Sound familiar? There is a better way.
We use IBM Connections to run meetings. For our operations meetings, we have created a single activity called "Operations Meetings". We created sections for the different years of notes so that the list doesn't become too long, so this year our notes are all going into the 2012 section.
We then create an "Entry" in that Section. We give it the title of the date of the meeting and type the agenda for the meeting in the body of the entry. If we're well organised we send out a notification to all those attending about this Entry so that they know what's on the agenda for the next meeting.
At the meeting we of course go through the agenda. For each agenda point we create a comment against the Entry. The comment form affords us plenty of space to record any points we want to record about the agenda item. To help matters we always repeat the agenda item name in the first line of the comment so that when we look down the list later we can see that there are comments covering each of the agenda points.
Actions arising from these agenda points are raised as To Dos against the Comment. They're assigned to the appropriate person and given a due date in keeping with the action. Multiple actioners each get a To Do entry.
And so through the agenda we go, creating Comments, To-Do's and so forth. We get to the end of the meeting and discover:
- The meeting minutes have been written
- The actions have been assigned
- Everyone now has their actions in their To Do List
- No-one had a headache about producing meeting minutes
- All the points were captured.
For me this one way of working with Activities presents one of the greatest productivity improvements now available in business. Because we're avid Notes users we also benefit from the fact that Notes gives you a full page of space for as much information you want to type into each entity in the structure - much better than re-sizing a box in a browser.
Try it - it works!