A Simple Device to Get More Out of Meetings

I listen to Onward Nation Podcast fairly often and one particular snippet of this episode really caught my attention. Judy Robinett, a thought leader in business, suggests using the acronym PADD when attending meetings or getting on the phone with someone. She uses a legal pad to take notes and writes PADD across the top of her page to remind her to write down information in each section. Here’s what each letter stands for:

P – Purpose

What is the purpose of the meeting or training? What is it that you want to walk out of the meeting knowing? Any time we are going to devote time to something, it needs to have a purpose in our life. No one wants to attend a meaningless meetings.

I think could apply equally well to reading a book. If you think about it, reading a non-fiction book is much like attending a meeting with the author whereby you have a purpose for choosing that particular book. So if there was one thing you most want to get out of the book, what is that thing?

A – Action

What are the action steps you need to take to achieve the purpose?

Let’s say the purpose of your team meeting is to implement a strategy to increase your referrals to 10 per month. In this step, you would decide what actions would lead to receiving 10 referrals per month.

As your actions, you write down that your team will host four client events per year, increase your personal contact with past clients and have mets from once a quarter to once a month, and implement a rule where each agent asks current clients for referrals at least three times before the client closes on their transaction.

Now you know the precise actions that will lead to the outcome (the purpose) of the meeting.

If you were reading a book, what are the action steps suggested in the book that you want to implement in your own life?

D – Details

Here’s where you hash out the details of each action.

In our example above, you decided to host four client events per year. As part of the Details step, you and your team brainstorm a list of what types of events you could hold. You choose four dates for the year and decide which events to host on those dates.

Now, you choose the next event and decide what is needed to make that event a success. You plan each detail or next steps in this phase of the meeting. You could also plan each of the other events, although setting a future date to plan the details of those events makes more sense. You would also write out the details of increasing your personal contacts and implementing the “ask for referrals” during this phase.

To get the most out of the book you are reading, what are the details for each action step that need your attention.

D – Deadline

Finally, you’re going to decide who is responsible for each detail with a specific deadline attached.

If you were planning the client event, assign responsibility to the team members involved and give them an appropriate amount of time to complete those responsibilities. It could be that you’re planning pie giveaway for the week of Thanksgiving. One team member has been assigned to find out the cost of the pies. Another team member has been assigned the task of deciding who will be invited to pick up a pie and how the invitations will go out (setting up a system for electronic invitations, plus phone calls and text messages). A third team member is in charge of working out where to put the pies and the best system for greeting people, giving them a pie, decorations and overall experience.

For the deadline, you ask that each team member accomplish their task in one week and you set a date and time for a follow-up meeting to review the results of their assignments.

To get the most out of every business book you read, write into your calendar when you are going to implement the actions you want to take to achieve the one purpose (or goal) you created while reading the book.

Final Thoughts

It would be easy to have someone designated as the note taker for the meeting and instruct that person to follow this formula. The notes could be taken in Google Docs and then shared with every member of the meeting so that everyone can be held accountable to their individual responsibilities as assigned at the meeting.

What do you think? Is this something you can see using on your own team? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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