I spend much of my time in meetings with clients and their customers. Since the pandemic, it seems I have more meetings on my calendar, starting early in the morning running into the afternoon.

I know we are supposed to complain about how much time we waste in meetings, frankly that’s not my experience. One, I insist on an agenda, if I’m to participate. Two, I prepare for each meeting and expect everyone to be as prepared as I am.

So most of the meetings I attend are pretty good. (Part of it may be that my clients are typically paying me a lot to participate.) We generally have very good discussions, share a lot of different views, and always conclude with action plans and next steps…..

And then, we all sign off, signing on, immediately to our next meetings.

We miss one critical thing in most of 95% of these meetings, it’s the thing that moves them from great conversations to producing results.

We fail to document the actions we agree on. The act of simply writing things down and distributing the results is the critical step necessary to turn great conversations into results.

It’s not bad intention on the parts of the participants. Everyone intends to do what they commit to in the meetings. It’s just that they forget. They move to the next meeting and their focus and attention is on that meeting, and then the next, and the next and …………

At the end of the day, we can’t remember what we had committed to, who had committed to what, by what date. So often, we have to schedule another meeting to remind ourselves of those things (here you can see the death spiral we get into with meetings.).

You already have meetings with agreed upon agendas. Everyone is prepared for the meeting. You have great discussions and agree on next steps. Just take the time to document these before you leave the meeting. It makes all the difference.