I recently found a way to trick Microsoft Outlook into keeping the Effective Meetings recommendations close at hand.
Situation: I’ve transferred all of my Tasks to my Calendar to make sure I have time to do the work assigned to my. I also print out my daily calendar from Outlook because I usually have three to four back to back meetings during the day. This left the Tasks area in the Daily Calendar printout from Outlook empty.
Actions: I decided that since I’m in meetings most of the day, I wanted to keep the list of Effective Meetings recommendations handy as a reminder. I’m also working with some younger employees to help them facilitate more effective meetings.
I created a Task in Outlook for each of the recommendations. If there is no Due Date, they won’t appear on the Outlook calendar printout. I assigned each task a Due Date in the past that would also sort the list properly. Here are the entries I used:
Pre-Publish an Agenda 1/1/2011
Start On Time 1/2/2011
Set Come Groundrules 1/3/2011
Stick to Your Agenda 1/4/2011
Use a Parking Lot 1/5/2011
Fix Responsibilities 1/6/2011
Finish On Time 1/7/2011
Publish Notes 1/8/2011
(Continuously Improve) 1/9/2011
(Use a Facilitator) 1/10/2011
Result: Now when I print my Daily Calendar from Outlook in the morning, the Tasks area has the list of Effective Meeting recommendations. In the middle of a meeting, I can glance down at it next to my notes as a memory jogger for these effective techniques. I’ll also sit next to a younger employee and leave it face up between us throughout the meeting. It is handy if I give some Peer Feedback to someone else on my team.
This isn’t hard to do. I think it took me ten minutes one day when e-mail was light and I had some extra time at the end of my Check E-mail appointment. Now I always have these recommendations at the ready. I usually fold the calendar in half vertically. This makes it a distinct size and shape so it is easy to find in the High-C Stack of Data that I carry from meeting to meeting.