March 29, 2020
As teachers and staff members transition to working from home for the foreseeable future, remote teaching is just one part of the equation. Meetings between school leaders and staff members must also be conducted online.
Using this time to connect with your colleagues is crucial. Holding remote meetings requires careful planning to ensure you use the time wisely and action steps are planned and taken. We recommend using the following tactics.
1. Prepare Appropriately
There must be two minutes of preparation for each minute of meeting time. Good preparation for meetings is essential to promote clarity (all the knowledge necessary for decision-making is brought to the table), good order (maintaining purpose over frustration), meaningful outcomes (rather than a meeting just to determine what the next meeting should be about), and accountability (holding the convener responsible).
2. Set a Meeting Agenda
Consider the following five items for your meeting format.
Start the meeting with simple social interaction. Catch up—see how everyone is doing. Meet this social need before the business talk begins.
Give your attendees time to reflect on what has happened since the last meeting. Share updates and provide participants the opportunity to offer their own insights and developments.
The meeting's main purpose should comprise 60% of the meeting time. Spend time primarily on the most important item, saving any tactical items until after the group has completed working on the main goal.
This is typically a time for paperwork or other to-dos. Keep this portion short and focused.
Take this time to talk about the positive momentum your team has made and where you plan to go from here.
3. Send the Agenda at Least 24 Hours Before the Meeting
Every attendee should be able to consider the topic you plan to discuss before the meeting. He or she can then reflect on whether to do some research, bring materials, or prepare questions in advance.
4. Start and Finish on Time
Respect your colleagues by starting and ending your meetings within determined parameters. Everyone has items they need to address as families work and learn from home.
5. Take Action-Focused Minutes
Assign someone to take notes—or, as the meeting convener, you may volunteer to do this. Include only action items—e.g., what to do and who is to do it, what are the anticipated outcomes, how is success measured, and what is the timeline. Send these notes within the first 24 hours after the meeting concludes.
While working from home is a temporary measure, it’s still important to use this time wisely. Ensure your meetings are well-planned and result in actionable steps that will allow your team to be productive and successful.
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