As a project manager you have to deal with multiple meetings almost every day. Whether you plan for which meetings to avoid or attend, you cannot deny the fact that meetings are crucial for planning and delivery of projects you manage.
In these meeting, you may to interact with your project team members, colleagues, customers, partners, project sponsors, senior management on various aspects of projects like issues, plans, progress, risks, budget, resources, etc.
As a project manager, you always have limited time and if you are anyway going to spend it in these meetings – why not utilize it to the best possible extent?
Here are 7 tips to help you in effectively managing your meetings.
1. What do you want to achieve? (Objectives)
Unless you have clear objective(s) to achieve as a result of a meeting, the meeting and discussions may not lead to anything useful to organization also, potentially wasting every attendee’s time. Before you call for a meeting or attend a meeting, ensure that you have clearly defined objectives that you would like to achieve.
2. What are you going to discuss? (Agenda)
Meeting agenda sets the roadmap for meeting – as what meeting participants can expect. As an organizer you should share meeting agenda with everyone invited, well before the meeting.
3. Who is going to drive it? (People)
If the meeting is expected to conclude in terms of some decision, you will have to ensure that there will be a senior representative – decision maker, present in the meeting. The steering committee may make all useful discussion, but if it is going to be a senior manager who is expected to approve it, organizer should inform him/her about it and invite them to meeting.
4. Are you discussing off-topic and wasting time? (On-track)
It is not uncommon to see that meeting discussion goes off-topic, sub-group of people starts discussing within themselves. As a meeting coordinator, everyone would expect you to direct all such discussion to the point and that you insist everyone to focus on the agenda.
Of course, quick humorous notes/comments are just fine to make the meeting environment little relaxed and healthy.
5. Criticize concepts/concerns and not people
Project team members and stakeholders may have differences, liking for one topic over other or preference for one resource over other; however it is important to focus on the concepts, ideas rather than preferences in people.
Sometimes, meeting participant may tend to criticize other attendees. If you are in the best position; you should drive them to discuss the concept rather than the proposer.
6. Understand, Accept differences and Propose Solution
Sometimes there are bound to be differences of opinion and for meaningful discussion, you need not have unilateral/consensus on a given topic. As a meeting attendees, you should be able to accept these differences, record those and understand what works best for your organization and meets the goal of meeting.
7. Share MoM, Action Items to follow up
An equally important point to carry out is post-meeting activities. Always record minutes of meetings (MoM), enlist action points with a due date and assignee and share this information with all meeting attendees.
I am sure, as a project manager you have plenty of meetings to attend every week, too many emails to go through and plenty of agenda, MoM, action items to search through. There is no easier way of organizing all information than using central meeting manager system.
A meetings is like a drawing board and it’s critical to the success of project planning and delivery. You should carefully plan for it, attend and conduct it effectively.
How do you make your meeting more productive? Please share your experiences in the comments.
About the Author:
Dhan is co-founder of Zilicus, the technology company that offers online project management software – ZilicusPM. ZilicusPM helps organizations in managing entire lifecycle of projects with advanced project planning, risk management, issue tracking, timesheet management, meeting management, document management, resource management, reports and dashboards.