What who when

After spending two and a half amazing weeks in French Polynesia, today is our last day on vacation. My family and I will be leaving tomorrow morning to take our flight back to Sydney.  

And I know that as soon as I land, I will be very busy. My next week is full of meetings. I am training most days. 

I’ve been away for weeks, so that’s to be expected.  

But I want to make sure all my meetings are effective and won’t waste anyone’s time. 


Bonjour, this is Cyril from Work Smarter: Live Better. In this video, I want to share one simple tip that can make your meetings more effective.

Whenever I work with a leadership team, one of the issues that always comes up is ‘meetings’. No matter where they’re from, whether in Australia, US, Europe, South America or anywhere else… 

And no matter what industry they’re part of – whether they’re from a large pharmaceutical company, a large bank, a consulting firm… 

Our clients constantly ask the same question: 

“We are swamped with meetings. How can we manage them better?” 

There are a few things you can do to make sure your meetings are efficient. But one simple thing that I always suggest is to follow a rule I call:  

what, who, when 

It’s a very simple rule. But what do I mean by that?  

Before you end each meeting, make sure you leave 5 to 10 minutes to discuss three things. 

What: What have we agreed during the meeting? What are the actions?  

Who: Who is in charge of the action?  

When: By when each person needs to do it?  

To make it more effective, I suggest you use a tool for this. What we’re using at Work Smarter: Live better is Trello. And here’s how we do it: 

For each regular meeting, we have a Trello board where we create cards for each action. The card contains three things: what we agreed on, who is in charge of the task, and by when the task is due.  

Now, you don’t have to use Trello if you don’t want to. You can also use OneNote, put it on a Word file, or even on an email that you can then send after the meeting. It doesn’t matter. 

But what matters is to end every meeting by really talking about the what, who, and when. I guarantee that it won’t take much of your time, but the payoff is huge.

The great thing about discussing the what, who, and when is everyone leaves with clarity about what needs to be done. 

You’ll no longer have meetings where everyone leaves in a rush without taking the time to really finalise things. It’s kind of a waste of everyone’s time because you haven’t really agreed on the action. And as a result, you likely won’t get the outcomes you’re expecting. 

Avoid that by making sure everyone is really clear about what needs to happen, by who and when. Since it’s recorded, your team has a place that they can check to guide them.  

For us, everyone can go back to the Trello board to check what has been agreed on and what they are in charge of. Then, at the start of the next meeting, you can refer to your Trello board or whatever you’re using to check and ask the team: 

“Hey, what did we agree on? By who and by when? Has it been done? Any issue on this one?”

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip: 

Get clear on the what, who, and when at the end of every meeting. Then, use it to start your next meeting and check on everyone’s progress.  

Now, before I go back and enjoy my last day on this beautiful island, let me ask you this question:  

What do you do to make sure that you leave each of your meetings very clear about what actions need to be done? 

You have a lovely day. 

A bientôt,

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