An empty conference room.

Six questions to ask before you schedule that meeting

Meetings are the worst, am I right?

And open slots in our schedules become increasingly rare by the day. But the first step toward freeing up your own schedule is leading by example. Take the lead and quit scheduling meetings that don’t fit the below parameters.

Encourage your team to schedule fewer meetings, invite fewer people, and stick to video conferencing by default.

Before you schedule your next meeting, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you have clearly defined goals for the meeting? (If not, come up with a plan before you schedule time with others.)
  2. Is this conversation necessary to progress work forward? In other words, does it need to happen in real-time? (If not, keep working until the next check-in.)
  3. To meet your goals, does there need to be a back-and-forth exchange? Are you making a decision, sharing information, or brainstorming? (If not, maybe you just really need some questions answered.)
  4. Must it be a verbal conversation? (If not, try email.)
  5. Does it require being face-to-face? (if not, try a quick conference call.)
  6. Will there be sandwiches?

If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the above, then sure, schedule that meeting.

(But you should probably get MeetBrief first.)


Other resources we dig:

Fast Company: Ask these questions before scheduling your next meeting

Post-it notes on a wall, each with a note.

Six tips for running a kickass content brainstorm

Content marketing is easy to say. Hard to do. Even harder to do well. Having run hundreds of content brainstorms over the years for ourselves and our clients, we’ve developed a formula to deliver the best results most consistently:

1. Establish guide rails

It’s important that you keep everyone’s creative energy focused in the right direction. We do that by establishing guide rails (ok, rules) before each brainstorm. e.g. Only ideas that can be executed by X deadline, Content for corporate CMOs, etc.

2. Turn off the machines

We find our sessions work best using a whiteboard and some big post-its. No laptop needed.

3. Quantity over quality.

In a brainstorm, more is better. Set a goal for X number of ideas and don’t stop until you’ve hit it. That keeps the brainstorm from getting too focused on any singular idea.

4. In your back pocket

It’s inevitable that you’ll hit a creativity wall along the way. Have a few ideas to keep things moving along when the block arises. A few we use:

  • A Thesaurus search on words that are being used in lots of the ideas
  • Envision a specific persona, e.g. What ideas would work great for Carl in IT?
  • Build off the opposite of good ideas. e.g. Turn 10 great content brainstorm tips into 10 mistakes made during content brainstorms.

5. Build on successful ideas

Have a list of your team’s best content from the last year handy. Prompt for any common traits of those ideas that have resonated with your audience previously.

6. Yes, and…

Encourage team members to build off of each others’ ideas, rather than downplaying their value. There are no bad ideas.


Links we like: