How many times have you attended a meeting and left more confused than you were when you went in? Effective meeting management is an important tool for all project managers and business leaders alike. After all, you can’t collaborate, delegate, or elicit help effectively without meeting, at least telephonically or virtually.
Here are my top ten tools and techniques for effective meetings:
Decide on the purpose for the meeting and stick to it.
Review proposed attendees and invite the team members and stakeholders with the right interest, authority, and abilities.
Publish the agenda ahead of time so everyone can come to the meeting prepared to appropriately engage.
Occasionally, begin the meeting with a short icebreaker or team-building exercise to keep the meeting fresh and interesting. If you are not creative, do a web-search for “quick meeting icebreakers” or “minute to win it games.” These are great for parties too!
Keep your meeting to the prescribed timeline; and, assign a timekeeper as necessary.
Take notes and insist that all team members take notes; but assign a designated note-taker to capture the meeting minutes.
Use the last portion of the meeting to allow the note-taker to summarize due-outs, upcoming milestones, and responsibilities that were updated or produced during the meeting.
Publish meeting minutes no later than 24-48 hours after the meeting (or sooner) to ensure enterprise understanding.
Periodically, invite a disinterested party into your meeting, such as a peer, fellow project manager, or functional manager, to simply serve as an observer who can provide you feedback on the meeting when it is over. It is optional whether you formally introduce them at the beginning of the meeting. I like to ask them to observe and provide feedback on three questions: who else should have attended this meeting, who attended the meeting but could have participated more, and how could this meeting be improved?
After the meeting, update task and responsibility tracking documents to ensure that the due-outs, issues, and requirements are accurately captured, traced to their sources, and assigned to a responsible party that can be held accountable.
What are some other tools that you use that work for your organization?