All meetings have a clear purpose
You only attend a meeting if you have to
Meetings end when their goal is achieved
What you decide actually happens
Vital aims to retool meetings from the inside out, throwing off antiquated notions in favor of what modern workers need.
Vital is a simple process for better meetings. It's an easy set of principles and practices that help ensure:
1. Meetings must have a clear purpose
2. You only attend a meeting if you have to be there
3. Meetings end when their goal is achieved
4. What you decide in your meetings actually happens
The result of practicing Vital is highly-improved meeting quality, shorter and fewer meetings overall, and gains in employee focus and satisfaction that come with better meetings. Vital also builds stronger teams because it emphasizes greater appreciation for each other’s time. It also enables people not present at meetings to benefit from their occurrence, reducing the need for the overall proportion of meetings anyone might need to attend.
Meeting scarcity over meeting abundance. Meetings are not free. They require time and focus—your team’s most valuable resources
Thoughtful scheduling over broad invitations. Good meetings are intentional in a way that respects both your colleagues and their time. No one is in a meeting except for the people who must be there. And no meeting goes on longer than necessary
Active discussion over mind-numbing presentation. Meetings are designed to be collaborative, not unilateral. Active discussion engages the entire room, generating significantly more value than dull, one-way presentations
Freely sharing over knowledge silos. Meetings are a shared activity. Information from them and about them should be actively shared, even with people who did not participate in the meeting.
Every meeting run according to Vital must pass the PANTS Test. Pants stands for Purpose, Agenda, Notes, Tasks, Shared.
In more detail, the PANTS Test means:
You may not schedule a meeting unless it has a stated purpose
You may not hold a meeting unless it has an agenda
Every meeting must have a note. If there is nothing noteworthy about your meeting, you shouldn’t have held it
You may not conclude a meeting unless all tasks have an owner
You are not done with your meeting process until notes and tasks have been shared
The average worker today is distributed, diverse, and distracted. Meeting organizers must do everything they can to make things easy on meeting participants—which means putting a meeting’s purpose, agenda, notes, and tasks in the same accessible, shareable place every time.
That place is the calendar entry. When you schedule a meeting, you send a calendar invite to everyone. This calendar entry is the only artifact that is guaranteed to be common, shared, and accessible among all meeting attendees.
Not your email, not your Google Doc, not your Slack message, not your Confluence project—all of these other systems may also be good places for meeting-related information, but every person and team’s work habits and platforms are different. That’s why Vital takes a calendar-first approach to transparency; it’s foolproof.
This means that meeting agendas belong with the calendar event so they are accessible to all attendees—even if you also communicate them using a different channel like email. Meeting follow-up notes should also be linked in the calendar—even if you also save them to your CRM or elsewhere.
Because Vital helps you avoid wasted, unfocused meetings, it saves you a ton of time. In fact, every activity you might feel that takes time, actually saves you more in the long term.
Is explicitly stating the goal of a meeting a waste of time? No. It takes one sentence. Don’t worry about word-smithing it; just make sure everyone who shows up to the meeting knows why they’re there.
Is setting an agenda a waste of time? No. You almost certainly get back more time in a smoothly run meeting.
What about having everyone share one meeting note document? Definitely not. You’re avoiding otherwise duplicated work by sharing that responsibility together.
What about assigning tasks? Seriously? How is work supposed to get done if nobody takes charge of doing it?
Lastly, is sharing your meeting purpose, agenda, notes, and tasks worth the time? Absolutely. It guarantees people can show up prepared, get value from the meeting, and potentially not even need to attend the meeting because they can see the notes instead.