Get Things Accomplished in Meetings

The RARA approach to meeting management is an excellent solution to getting things done with meetings. This approach can be thought of as time management for meetings. The most well-known time management principle is to start with A’s when looking at priorities. So for anyone who is beginning to lead meetings or those who want to improve the meetings they attend, start with the A’s from the RARA acronym (pronounced as rah-rah).

The first A in the acronym is for agenda. Have an agenda to control the meeting flow and pace, as well as keep the group focused. Be sure to review the agenda at the start of each meeting as this is the action plan for how the meeting should proceed. The agenda should include the 3 T’s of Time, Topic, and Talker. The order of the 3T’s on the agenda does not matter, so if a current agenda format only has two of these three, just add the other to the end of existing format. At the start of meetings be sure to review the agenda to get agreement to the meeting process, times set, and make valid adjustments. Then utilize the agenda to bring people back to the current action to be accomplished in the meeting if any of the participants begin to wonder off the designated topic. If there is to be follow-up meetings, create a tentative agenda for the next meeting as a group before adjourning to get advance acceptance.

The second A indicates actions. Record any action items as they come up during the meeting. The actions should be assigned to attendees or team members using the 3 W’s of who, what, and when before the meeting closes. The 3W’s are recorded in the meeting minutes as a reminder to everyone with actions when they must be completed by so they are accountable to the group. Individuals or sub-teams not completing assigned actions outside of meetings can result in project delays and cause problems with future meeting agendas. Make sure everyone understands the importance of accomplishing their commitments outside the meeting on-time.

Anyone who manages meetings or desires to improve the time spent in meetings they attend will find the RARA approach very helpful. Starting with the A’s in the RARA acronym can instantly make meetings more efficient and effective.

NOTE: The R’s in the RARA approach stand for good historical records such as taking accurate meeting minutes and pre-assigning roles of facilitator, recorder, and any others that may be necessary for meeting success. Most of the information in this article has been abbreviated from the book “R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizard’s Approach” or speeches by the book author. To find ideas for using RARA before, during, and after meetings; read the article ” Turn Meetings into Pep Rallies of Productivity.” For more meeting or time management tips, search the extensive list of articles by this author.