ANDNA: Essential Ingredients for Effective Meetings

Published on February 1st, 2019
ANDNA Summary

In the busiest stretch of my career thus far, I was involved in a dozen or more meetings a day leading a team of 60 individuals across 200 active client projects and internal initiatives. It was a lot, and keeping up with everything was challenging. However, it also forced me to think through how to make these meetings matter. Ultimately, I found the following format to be a solid starting point that could be further adapted for each situation.

ANDNA is a palindrome representing the following components:

  • (A)genda
  • (N)otes
  • (D)ecisions
  • (N)ext (A)ctions

Briefly covering each…


Meetings without agenda almost always burn 5-10 minutes just getting everyone oriented. It also prevents people from doing research and coming to the meeting with ideas or proposals. It also helps keep everyone focused on the problem at hand and the desired outcome.


This is a brain dump of everything and anything. If the team is using a shared Google Doc, the goal here is to just capture capture capture raw notes during the meeting. After the meeting, the goal is to filter filter filter these into a meaningful set of talking points that someone else who didn’t attend could get a reasonable sense of what was discussed. In general, the more the details the better.


Notes are great, but without decisions, it’s just data. If the agenda noted 3 main problem points, the goal should be 3 or more decisions (even if a decision is we need to do more research and come back to make a decision with new information).

Next Actions

To know and not to do is really not to know. — Stephen Covey

Meetings are an investment that should result in a tangible outcome. That outcome doesn’t end at a decision. Ultimately, something needs to be done to put that decision into action. This is the final, critical step where actions are listed out with commitments from those in the room to take ownership over the appropriate ones.

So there you have it—ANDNA. It’s a super simple formula, and yet it’s highly effective at making meetings matter more.

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.