If you're working remotely, you must be engaging in several meetings per week with your team to determine the course of work and track progress. To ensure your meetings have served their purpose, it's important to conclude them with action items.
So how can you write efficient, easy-to-follow action items? In this article, we're going to discuss how you can create outstanding action items in any meeting.
TL;DR? Feel free to jump to any section in the article:
What are action items in a meeting?
An action item is a specific assignment given to the team members to direct them toward project completion. It's a discrete task used to organize the workflow and help dissect a major project into smaller, manageable tasks in a specific timeframe.
This way, your team knows what to work on every day, week, and month until the project is finished. Action items should be recorded at the end of every meeting in a clear, concise manner and checked off once completed.
What are the advantages of creating action items?
So why should you create action items for your team?
For one, they help to organize a project's workflow by dividing its assignments into smaller actionable items to help team members manage their time more efficiently. Let's find out the main advantages of creating an action items list:
1. Action items conclude the meeting outcomes
In most meetings, important ideas can get lost during the meeting without keeping track of actionable items. Listing concise action items is a great idea to conclude the meeting outcomes for the team's reference.
2. Action items enhance team productivity
When your team has a list of specific tasks to complete within a deadline, they'll more likely achieve those tasks in due time. This will facilitate the workflow and prevent any possible delays in the project, enhancing team productivity.
3. Action times are specifically assigned to each member
Not only will each person know their role in the project, but also the whole team will recognize who's in charge of each task. This makes it easier to discover and push through any bottlenecks that may occur in the process.
And what if you DON'T list action items for your team? Without action items, tracking the progress of each member and foreseeing potential hurdles become much harder.
What are good action items?
A good action item must answer three questions: (1) What does the task entail? (2) Who will work on the task? (3) When should the task be completed?
Answering these three simple questions is key in creating a clear, concise action item.
How do you write action items?
So what are the best practices in creating action items in a meeting? Let's take a look at a few tips:
1. Describe the action item briefly and clearly in one sentence
The sentence should be long enough to indicate the task's purpose but not too long or wordy.
2. Mention the person responsible for each action item
Each person must understand their role in the action items and the whole team must know who to contact if their work depended on another person's task. You must determine who the best person is for each task to optimize the work process and prevent unnecessary delays.
3. Begin each action item with a verb
The term "action item" indicates performing an action; so make sure to use direct action verbs to provide clear instructions to the team.
4. Be consistent and coherent in listing all action items
Use the same format when writing each item to make it comprehensible and readable.
5. Divide the action items into subcategories
Create subheadings to gather similar tasks under the same umbrella, for example, administration, production, design, and other items. You can also list resources, tools, and methods required to complete each task.
6. Mention the deadline with each action item
People always work better within a specific timeframe. Create a deadline for each task after discussing it with the team member to determine a reasonable due date.
The due date must be written with the date, time in am or pm, and specific time zone. This is especially important with teams working overseas to ensure everyone delivers their task within the same hours.
How do you record action items in a meeting?
Documenting your action items in a specific place is crucial so that your team can easily refer to them during the project. You can list them in the meeting minutes or in a note-taking app to keep track of all action items in a single project.
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With adam.ai, your team members can easily locate their assigned action items, individually and collectively, and mark each task as done once completed.
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What are action items in a meeting example?
Let's see how you can implement all the aforementioned tips in an example.
From the screenshot below, you can see the action item states: Finalize the product features and pitch documents before our next product meeting. The due date is May 30, the severity of the action item is medium, and the assignee is attached to the task.
This action item example answers the three basic questions of who, what, and when. Use this format to customize your action items in any meeting.
We recommend using a meeting management software program, like adam.ai, where you can link series meetings conducted for the same project, keep track of action items in the same place where you have your meetings, and enjoy other features like private chats, video conferencing, and much more.
And while there may be multiple meeting management solutions available, here’s why adam.ai is the best one for you:
adam.ai is ranked a leader in the meeting management software category by G2 for both quarters, Summer 2021 and Winter 2021.
adam.ai has been included in the Forrester Report in the AI-enabled meeting technology landscape.
adam.ai is trusted and used by powerful teams worldwide from Johns Hopkins University, The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Microsoft, and other renowned organizations.
And most importantly, adam.ai integrates with your existing workflow, provides a free plan for life for small teams, and is the most affordable tool for larger teams (starts at $4.99).
Check out the following video on how to get started with adam.ai including how to take notes and assign action items in a meeting:
The bottom line
Action items are the logical outcome of any meeting, and without them, your team will lose track of what to work on.
Outlining clear, actionable items in a meeting helps the employees to manage their time better and facilitate the workflow to deliver the project on time.
We hope you can use the tips outlined in this article to guide you while creating action items in your future meetings.
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