Meetings. How I Schedule + Prepare

The last month has been one of refining processes, contracts and efficiency. We’re a two person team and have many projects happening simultaneously. One things we started to observe was the fact that we were constantly in meetings. Days would fly by and we’d have ZERO work to show for it. Meetings, when executed properly, can be very productive. When meetings are flippantly scheduled without pausing to reflect on a few things, they can lead to a very unproductive week and leave you feeling frustrated.

Here are a few guidelines I’ve executed as an owner, designer + sales person within my own business:

  1. Carve out certain days of the week to meet. I try to schedule all meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays (highlighted in yellow above). This doesn’t always happen but those are usually the days I list when I’m asked about my availability. Why those days? Monday mornings are reserved for a longer meeting with Adam and in the afternoon I have weekly reoccurring calls + a photoshoot. Wednesdays are always the busiest and Fridays are always more pleasant when I’m in control of my agenda.
  2. Prioritize your client meetings. This seems obvious but we found that dedicating two weeks of the month to non-client meetings allowed us to be more available and focused for our current clients. Meetings with potential clients, peers in or around our network, and random coffee dates are scheduled on the 1st and 3rd weeks of each month. Again, we still aim for Tuesday or Thursday.
  3. Set an agenda/itinerary. This is something that I’m still working on. It’s a bit easier when it’s a client because most of our client meetings have a purpose. Even so, we try to establish one topic per meeting and we try to set reoccurring meetings with clients who are on retainer. When we go into any meeting, I have a prepared list going over all of the topics I’d like covered. When you do this you’ll avoid the dreaded, “So what else do we need to go over?” after 20 minutes of small talk.
  4. Let people know how long you can meet. This is something I just decided to do but haven’t really implemented it yet. Lately we’ve found ourselves getting lost in conversation or spending too much time discussing a non-important topic. If I schedule a meeting at 3pm with someone on a Tuesday, I will tell them that I have an hour to meet. Simple as that. I don’t expect anyone that I meet with to keep track of that detail but it sets the tone and allows you to communicate that you can’t spend three hours chatting.
  5. Keep the location in mind and be intentional about it. There are many reasons why I love meeting in our new studio space. It’s comfortable, I don’t have to worry about listening to any other conversations besides my own, we spend less on coffee… the list could go on. BUT there are times when meeting at a coffee shop can keep things more brief. It’s like when you have people over. You have to wait until they’re ready to leave (or you have to start giving social cues that you’re ready to go to sleep). When I meet someone at a separate location, I can let them know that I have to get going or go back to work.

We’re still figuring this stuff out but I hope these tips can help someone else out there! Are you in control of your own schedule? How do you handle meetings? If you want to read more about how we’re trying to batch tasks, check out Adam’s post over here.


April 7, 2014