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Virtual First | Communication Kit

Set your pre-meeting up for success

External research has found that 50% of meetings are unnecessary. For those meetings that are required, there’s a surefire way to make them more meaningful - request pre-meeting actions and allocate time for silent reads to begin your meeting.


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Step 1: Assess your meeting agenda

That meeting agenda you created? Open it, add any links or pre-read materials to the async ‘Context’ section, and pre-populate the ‘3d’s’ section with questions or topics you need input on. Think about what you want to tell or ask folks once the meeting begins, and document that before the meeting.

Step 2: Inform attendees

Once the pre-read materials and questions are in the agenda document, message or email those who are confirmed to attend the meeting. Aim to send this one business day before your meeting (or two for especially robust topics). Point attendees to the updated questions and topics to ponder, empowering them to gain context on their terms. As a bonus, you may see the conversation begin in the document before the meeting even happens!

Step 3: Silent read to open meetings

Depending on how in-depth the pre-read materials are, set aside 5, 10, or even 15 minutes at the start of a meeting for folks to read and absorb the content. Switch cameras off during silent reading and turn cameras back on when you’re ready to engage. Not only is this a calming way to start a meeting, but it also reinforces the practice of documentation across your team. When folks see that documented agendas are given proper space to be read and consumed, they’ll feel compelled to hop on the documented agenda bandwagon!
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More helpful tips for meeting success

Check out these other practices from the Virtual First Toolkit: 

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From others

Great resources from experts we trust

Explore pre-meeting tips and examples. 

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3 easy wins

Build the habit

  • Tomorrow: Scan your week for a discussion-heavy meeting, add a pre-read doc to the agenda, and inform attendees. 
  • Next week: Ask your immediate team to build silent read time into their meetings. 
  • Quarterly: Ask your manager to include silent reads in their meetings and encourage them with their teams.