In his article (German) about productive meetings, Hannes Heckner describes the four steps required to make meetings as useful as possible.
- Prepare the meeting
An agenda for a meeting helps participants to prepare themselves up-front. They can prepare their topics, or leave out the meeting if there are no important issues for them to be discussed.
- Run the meeting
When running the meeting, sticking to the agenda helps to keep the focus on-topic. The host of the meeting has to make sure that the discussion follows the agenda.
- Capture the results
While running the meeting, the host also has to make sure the results of the meeting are written down. He can do that by himself, or assign this to another participant. The most important things to take down are which decisions were made, which tasks were assigned and to whom, and other important information.
- Follow up
After the meeting, the host should distribute his notes to all participants. This allows them to add important issues if they think any are missing. And more important, they see which tasks were assigned to them and reminds them to start working on them. The notes of a meeting can be taken as a template for the agenda of the following meeting. This new agenda should also contain the tasks of the previous meeting to allow to track their progress.
The full article can be read on HRinside (German).