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Get a projector and write your meeting notes on the wall  

When I started my previous company in the early/mid nineties an LCD projector was an expensive and rare commodity. I remember making the decision to part with more than £3000 to get one. It was a major decision for an organic start up. We paid more for that projector than all the furniture in the meeting room put together. But it paid for itself very quickly. Ever since I’ve insisted on projectors in meeting rooms.

This is how to save yourself and your colleagues time and effort and to take a step forward in productivity: 

Make sure your meeting rooms have a projector or large screen TV that everyone can see easily. Make it the focus of the room.

Nominate one person to take notes for everyone during the meeting.  Plug their laptop computer / iPad into the projector so that everyone can see the notes as they are typing as you go along.

Nobody else should take notes or minutes - that should be a strict rule. This helps everyone concentrate on the meeting rather than trying to write things down. Anything they want noted they should ask to be entered into the notes. Meeting notes shouldn’t be a word for word rendition of what was said or an audio recording of the meeting. They should be a summary of the things that were said, but more importantly a record of the reasons for decisions, a record of what was considered and a note of the data that was or wasn’t available to make the decision.

The output of the meeting is the set of agreed notes that were projected on the wall. The minutes are agreed as the meeting progresses.  

Nobody needs to read the notes after the meeting. They have already read them. The notes are there as a reference. What they do need to do is get on with the agreed actions. These are listed in the meeting notes.

The meeting is much more collaborative because everyone is working to get a set of agreed notes. They work together to ensure that the items on the agenda are properly noted, that all points of view are written down and reasons for decisions noted. Everybody feels more listened to. If there is disagreement all points of view should be written down. Again this makes everyone feel their point of view is important and has been listened to.

The notes can be sent around immediately the meeting finishes and will be in the participants’ email inboxes before they get back to their desks. No more waiting for someone to write up and distribute the notes (which all too often seems to happen just prior to the next meeting which is a hopeless way of working). 

Agreed actions are in the document that gets distributed so everybody is clear on what needs to be done and there is only one set of notes that have been agreed so there is no room for misunderstanding.

The power of this way of working cannot be underestimated. When we decided 20 years ago to buy a projector it was a major decision for us. Now the price of a screen or projector is so cheap that it makes it a no-brainer to get one for every meeting room. Each manager’s office where there is a table where three or four people sit should have a large LCD TV next to it.

Having worked this way for 20 years and in that time having been to many meetings where we, unfortuantely, didn’t have a projector I’m convinced that meetings with a projector are far more efficient, enjoyable and productive. 

More about Bill Burgar here.

You need a decent meeting app to use before, during and after meetings: check out Meeting Gold here.

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Reader Comments (1)

Really beneficial blog. I am also using projector from last few month and these are most important for presentation.

January 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentervivek

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