Do you need to conduct a meeting between people who are located at different cities in the world?
As CCLFI principals are spread around the globe (Jasmin Suminstrado in Africa and Europe, Alwin Sta. Rosa in Pacific countries, Daan Boom in Nepal, me hip-hopping across Asia and new member Ron Young in U.K. and France), we had to find and practice an inexpensive method of conducting on-line meetings. Former CCLFI Director for Operations Leslie Gopalan from Malaysia had introduced us to this tool. And of course, before we teach a KM tool to our clients, as a matter of policy, we first practice the KM tool ourselves.
Our simple formula:
- Create an Agenda (topics or issues for discussion or decision, lead person or responsible person, dates, any background information) in Excel file, upload it to Google docs (a free service by Google), invite members who will attend the meeting to view/edit it, and email the exact time of start of the meeting.
- Before the meeting time, any member can edit or add new materials onto the Google doc file.
- At the appointed time, members go on-line and conduct the meeting using Skype conference call (of course, every member must have Skype accounts – it is free; use of headphone is advisable to minimize audio feedbacks and ambient noise).
- During the meeting, each member accesses the agenda worksheet in Google docs, and anyone can edit or add new materials to record the points being raised and the decisions reached (any cell being edited by one person is temporarily locked out from the others; but once he is finished editing, the result is visible and editable by the others; members can edit different cells simultaneously).
- There is no need to write a Minutes of the Meeting; the Minutes is being written by everyone as the meeting progresses!
- The decisions reached and the actions to be taken are recorded, together with the person responsible and the deadline date for finishing the action.
- In other words, at the end of the meeting, the Agenda morphs into the Minutes of the Meeting.
- Days and weeks after the meeting, the people responsible for the different actions agreed upon must report on his progress (or problems met) by making corresponding entries on the Google docs file at any time. At any time too, any member of the team can check the progress of the others by accessing the same file. In other words, the Minutes of the Meeting next morphs into a team Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) tool!
- Once all the actions are done, the file can be part of the team’s work archives.
Does your team use any similar tool? If so, please describe it too using the “Leave a Comment” link below. Let us learn from each other.
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