This Saturday, I will share the 5 rules for running productive meetings. A meeting is that kind of activity that can quickly kill your productivity if you work remotely.

My calendar exploded when Voxloud moved from 15 to 50 people in less than one year.

I quickly realized that I couldn’t find the right time to focus.

I was becoming a bottleneck for those waiting for my input.

The solution came up when I decided to go from 7 to 3 internal meetings on average per day and boost productivity with the below 5 simple rules:

Rule 1: Do you really need a meeting?

Do not create a meeting to discuss topics you can cover asynchronously via chat.

Remember that a meeting is a blocker for you and your colleagues.

Use them sparingly.

Rule 2: Productive Meetings start and end on time

If a meeting starts at 9:00, it begins at 9:00. Not at 9:01.
If a meeting ends at 9:15, it ends at 9:15. Not at 9:16.

If someone cannot join on time, could warn to reschedule up to 30 minutes before the start.
If the discussion is longer than expected, reschedule another meeting.

Everyone’s time is valuable.

Rule 3: Productive meetings have always an agenda

Every meeting needs a list of topics and goals prepared before the beginning.

This way, you won’t forget anything. Plus, you won’t waste time figuring out what you’ll need to talk about.

Do not discuss topics that are not present on the agenda.

How to create a practical meeting agenda?

We usually create a shared confluence page to fill out before the meeting. If you don’t use Confluence, just use Google Docs.

We list the topics and, for each one, we write:

  • Type (problem, update, proposal, news)
  • Description
  • Presenter name
  • Notes
  • Actionable output

During the meeting, participants get over the list.
They write together the notes, and – most important – the related actionable output (usually a JIRA task).

To make it simple, i prepared a downloadable ready-to-be-used meeting agenda in Notion.

Download the Remote Meeting Agenda Template

Rule 4: Invite only necessary people

It could be obvious, but it’s not.
If you are using my agenda template, just invite those who can contribute to the topic’s output.


Rule 5: Be half-day open to meetings, half-day not

Agree with your entire team to organize meetings only in the morning or only in the afternoon.

Everyone needs at least half-day of deep work without meetings to interfere.
Focus is everything.


TLTR; How to run productive meetings:

Reduce meetings and make them productive.

You just need to follow those 5 rules:

  1. Organize only the necessary meetings
  2. Start and finish on time
  3. Create always an agenda
  4. Invite only necessary people
  5. Be half-day open to meetings, half-day not