As an entrepreneur, mother and connector of people, Nandi Dlepu is the driving force behind Mamakashaka. Her agency goes about its business making moves to change the landscape of South Africa’s creative economy by building platforms and creating opportunities where creative entrepreneurs can thrive. Nandi and her team of collaborators are behind The Feel Good Series, Bloom and Umi – Our Music Festival, to name a few.
These are some of Nandi’s tips to help you survive meetings and turn them into meaningful experiences.
Be time conscious
“I think meetings are better in the second-half of the day and although you’re often at the mercy of other peoples’ availability, my ideal reality is to only have meetings after lunch. This includes meetings on a Friday too,” says Nandi of her approach to timing. Whenever possible, slot your meetings into your day by thinking of it as making a sandwich – the bread holding it all together is the time you allocate to tick some of your tasks off your list. “I like to use the time I’m most alert to do some actual work, tend to emails and prepare for the afternoon’s meeting or meetings. I can do a meeting slightly fatigued but I can’t produce work under those conditions.”
Stay on track
“Creating an agenda for meetings and brainstorms helps to keep things focused,” says Nandi of her directional approach. “Meetings should be 30-minutes long and report based. Essentially, there should be less of a discussion. Brainstorms tend to be much longer for me. They’re often an hour minimum but can go on for up to 4-hours. I make sure to have a meal before a brainstorm and have a Red Bull at the beginning of most sessions to boost my concentration and focus. I’ve found that it uplifts my mood and increases my enthusiasm levels – making me not only more alert but also more chirpy, which comes in pretty handy with all the socialising I have to do.”
Bring your A-game
“I’m a note taker – I don’t really doodle or fidget unless I’m disengaged or bored in a session, which rarely happens because I love what I do and I’m constantly feeling challenged,” says Nandi of her boardroom habits. “Based on the agenda I try to meet whatever deliverables are required of me beforehand. I also like to prepare follow-up questions on tasks held by others.”
Meetings and brainstorms can often feel like a pain, but if you tackle them correctly the reward is the potential to create truly collaborative, well-thought out work that you and your team can be proud of.
Nandi’s tips to survive meetings and brainstorms
1. Slot meetings into your day like a sandwich
2. Create an agenda and follow it
3. Prepare for meetings and brainstorms
4. Fuel up before the session
5. Stay engaged