There are many different types and styles of meeting but one of their common characteristics is that to be efficient, decisions have to be made and actions given out. It’s not about the talking but what that leads to that counts.

Each action needs to have three components, which form the Action Triangle

What is going to be done?

Who’s going to do it?

It’ll be completed by when?

One of the dangers in meetings that the discussions can feel like actions are being taken there and then. Normally the truth is more mundane and decisions have to be made and actions recorded. It’s easy when you are immersed in a meeting to forget one of the components of the action triangle. Make sure the minute taker knows about the Action Triangle and encourage them to prompt you if a component is missed out. An alternative approach is to display a table of actions on a flipchart, whiteboard or laptop so everyone can see the notes.

We all know the temptation to put off actions with target dates in six months time so make sure that short term actions are set that can be discussed at the next meeting. For a complex action you could set up a group rather than give all the work to one person. This group could meet with you so you can draw up an Action Plan.

In between meetings you may want to catch up with action owners and ask how they are getting along.This shows your commitment to getting the actions completed and reinforces that you take them seriously. Also it gives an early warning of any problems so that timescales can be reviewed if necessary. Be fair and reasonable when team members are struggling to make progress. People will appreciate you listening and working out a compromise with them. Better to carry out these type of negotiations outside the main meeting

When you come to the next meeting of the whole group make sure you put plenty of emphasis on reviewing the actions. Make sure you mark items as completed so everyone can see the progress made.

How do you make sure actions are carried out in your meetings?

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