As a secretary or personal assistant, you are participating in business meetings as a chairman or a minute-taker. People are switching from topic to topic. Some discussions are taking up way too much time and participants are talking about non-important details. A few people are staring out, thinking: ‘What am I doing here?!’ If this sounds familiar to you, I will now share some great news with you: as a personal assistant or secretary you have the power to change these inefficient meetings. Here’s how!

Check #1: Is this meeting really necessary?

Everybody wants to take a piece of your client’s or manager’s precious time. When you’re planning a new meeting or receiving a request for a meeting, first ask yourself: is this meeting really necessary? Most time is wasted by spending hour after hour in meetings and discussing topics that actually could have been dealt with by e-mail or a phone/video call. When someone requests a meeting with your client, be sure to act like a gatekeeper. What does this person want to know from your client? What does he want to discuss? Ask this person if he/she wants to e-mail his questions (list of topics) to you, so you can check everything in advance and decide whether an appointment is needed, or the matter can also be handled by e-mail or even by telephone.

Check #2: What’s the purpose of this meeting?

If your client believes that it’s necessary to schedule a meeting, question number two is: what do you (= meeting caller) want to get out of this meeting? What do you want to achieve? Is there a decision that needs to be made? Are there ideas that need to be worked out? Do tasks have to be distributed? Is there important information be given? Without a purpose every meeting is meaningless, so make sure your client or manager knows what is expected of him/her, so that he/she can enter every meeting well prepared.

Check #3: Can I prepare something?

Ensure that meeting content, like documents and presentations, is collected in advance and delivered to your client and all participants on time. I always make clear to all participants that meeting content must be delivered 24/48hrs in advance. TIP: save documents as PDF-files. This makes all content easy to read on all devices and the reader can easily add comments and notes to the documents.

Check #4: When should I send the meeting content to my manager?

Ensure all meeting content is sent 24/48 hours in advance to all participants. When your manager is on the road or is about to go on a business trip, keep in mind that all documents are readable so your manager can prepare the meeting while traveling.

Check #5: Does this meeting need a debriefing?

It is always a good idea to check with your manager after the meeting what has been discussed. What are the outcomes? Are there any action points that need to be scheduled? Is a follow-up appointment necessary? Don’t wait too long with this follow-up because your manager’s memory is most accurate soon afterwards.

Please contact PA Dynamics for more information about our PA services for busy executives and managers. PA Dynamics also offers special package deals, for example ‘PA for a Day’ and ‘PA on Demand’, in case you’re in need of a personal assistant occasionally. Let’s get things done!

Copyright PA-Dynamics © 2017 – Translated from original Dutch article