Good morning! Are you ready to start your day with back-to-back meetings? Chances are you’re (probably) not in the headspace to hit the ground running just yet. You might still be pouring a cup of coffee or going through your inbox to ease yourself into the workday.
However, there are some mornings where you have scheduled meetings as soon as you arrive to work. How can you start these meetings off on the right (AKA: organized) foot? I reached out to a few experts for an inside look into the strategies they use to maximize their morning meetings.
1. Don’t brainstorm; do draft an agenda.
Tracy Julien is the Vice President of Marketing for GuidedChoice, a digital investment advisory firm. Julien has more than 15 years of experience working for esteemed global brands and credits agenda outlines to her success during meetings.
“Many people think meetings waste valuable time and disrupt the flow of a work day,” Julien says. “The key is not to have your morning meeting be led by brainstorming. The meeting needs to be informative and should add value to the people involved in the meeting.”
Julien advises typing up a brief outline the night before you leave work. Then, email it to your team members so the agenda is waiting in their inboxes the next morning. This ensures it’s one of the first things they see, and an efficient way to have a productive morning meeting.
2. Shake the jitters away by exercising.
As the CEO of my own business, I’m all in favor of exercising before, during, and after the workday. Movement is particularly helpful if you’re nervous about an important meeting. Even going for a quick 15-minute walk gets your blood flowing and endorphins up, allowing you to come back refreshed and ready to go.
Not sure if you have time to squeeze in a walk or spinning class before the meeting? Here are two types of exercise Nguyen says you can bring to the office with you.
Jumping jacks: “These reactivate your body with a quick burst of activity. The attitude you come into a meeting with is contagious and lifts up the energy of the room — and there’s nothing than arriving feeling drained. Do a quick set of jumping jacks before the meeting. It will give you for more energy, focus, better ideas, and increased productivity.”
Belly breathing: “This kind of deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve. It sends a message back to the brain, telling you to relax. Breathing helps you relieve stress and stay grounded in the moment. When we relax, all aspects of life feel easier.”
3. Set a hard stop.
Hard stops — where you set a time limit to one commitment in order to move on to the next one — sound easy enough to implement. Beth Tucker, CEO of KNF&T Staffing Resources, knows that this is actually much harder to do in practice.
She advises setting aside personal distractions, like laptops and smartphones, so the meeting can end on time. Come prepared, too.
“Set an agenda so that the meeting is better structured,” Tucker says.
Additionally, let the other party you’re speaking with know about the hard stop in advance. Send out a calendar invitation for the meeting — whether you’re taking a call or video chatting together — that outlines how long everyone can anticipate it lasting. It’s highly likely that the individuals you’re meeting with may have commitments of their own and they’ll be grateful you planned an end date.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and copyright and trademark filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation.