About 30% of my meetings in a given week are what I would call “informal”. Here are a few of the characteristics that define these meetings.

  • Often not scheduled, or scheduled “day of”
  • Don’t repeat
  • Are very short (5-20 minutes)
  • Include only 1 or 2 other people
  • Have a single topic or goal

I found that using one of the standard Instant Agenda meeting types (Planned, Collaborative) to run these meetings was a bit too much overhead. We talked to our customers, and they agreed. Still, there was a general desire to keep notes in one place, send email summaries and track action items. After talking to more than 25 customers on this topic, the majority wanted all their meetings tracked in Instant Agenda if possible. That led us to create Quick Meetings.

quick meeting button

This is my personal set of tips and workflow for using Quick Meetings.

Setup

I’ve found that I use Quick Meetings in one of two cases. First, is for impromptu meetings that come up on the spot. Second is for “problem solving” meetings that get scheduled for the first time slot we have available.

For impromptu meetings, I don’t even bother going into my calendar to create an event. I usually just grab a small conference room, or get on the phone, typically with only one or two other people. In this case, I bring my laptop and open a new Instant Agenda “Quick Meeting” and give it a descriptive name. I usually don’t bother sharing my Instant Agenda with the attendee(s) unless I know they are frequent users of Instant Agenda.

For problem solving meetings, I create the invite in my calendar, and add a new “Quick Meeting” directly from my Outlook calendar using our Outlook Add-in. Anyone invited can add comments to the agenda ahead of the meeting.

Meeting

During an informal meeting, whether in person or via teleconference, I tend to take minimal notes. Most of my attention is focused on the conversation. I use Instant Agenda to record critical bits of information, particularly action items and decisions.

Quick Meetings work really well in this situation because there is no “facilitation” overhead. I don’t have to manage the clock or move through topics formally — these discussions tend to be very fluid but I still get to capture everything in Instant Agenda.

Instant Agenda also works pretty well for brainstorming type meetings. We can either use the Agenda/Notes or the discussion Comments to capture ideas. Then, record actions or decisions about those ideas as needed.

Quick Meeting example

Follow up

Immediately after finishing my meeting, I click “Send Summary” to email a copy of my notes, action items and decisions. I include all my meeting attendees (and sometimes other stakeholders), even if they weren’t using Instant Agenda with me. People LOVE seeing these follow-ups appear in their inbox immediately after our discussion. I have an email filter set up to filter all my meeting summary emails into a “Meeting Notes” folder so that they are easily searchable from Outlook.

My personal action items get routed to my task board (using our external notification feature). Action items for participants get emailed to them (even if they were not in Instant Agenda).

Meeting Summary Email

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Michael Ball

Co-founder, Product Lead at Instant Agenda
Michael was born a squalling, helpless MVP and has struggled ever since to obtain product-market fit. Experiments have included Peace Corps volunteer, ops engineer, scrum master, product owner, agile coach, husband, father, armchair philosopher, and, most recently, lean startup founder. Michael is still working on his exit-strategy, but his earliest angel investors seem generally proud of his accomplishments.
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