Keys to Effective Project Meetings

Meetings and the agenda that drives them should be organized in priority order. This ensures that the most important stuff gets done and that lower priority items can be dealt with at a more convenient time if needed. Only invite those who are absolutely necessary. If only a few people are required for a portion of the meeting, it is better to break up the large meeting into two smaller ones with different groups of people invited to each one. People learn that being late in meetings means they will miss important information.
If you want a few people in your meeting to make a collective decision, be sure to clearly state the objective of the meeting.
If you don’t plan to take notes, delegate this responsibility to someone else before the meeting starts – and set your expectations.
You should make sure you take down any notes before you leave the room. You may forget important items if you leave the room.
Tips for great meetings
Start at the right time
Agenda and invitations for those who are able to contribute
If you have a long meeting, be sure to follow the agenda and timing.
If someone comes in late, don’t recap what you have covered. This is a way to reinforce bad behavior. Even the President of the company must show up on time.
Breakout discussion groups are prohibited. Everyone must speak through the chair with good manners.
Follow the rules of order. It’s a good idea, if there are matters that must be decided by votes, to be aware of how votes should be conducted.
Notes/minutes. Recap by email after the meeting.
If you have a well-planned agenda, finish on time and distribute Minutes of Meeting as soon as possible.
These practices are universally applicable to all meetings, regardless of industry or discipline. The “in theory” qualifier is based on real-world realities that have not been properly considered. For a moment, consider the fact that even the most efficient manager can run into back-to-back or overlapping meetings. Yes, it is possible to end meetings on time, eliminate multi-tasking, turn off your cell phone, and block all distractions. Multi-media, multisite, multicultural, multigenerational, and many other realities are all part of modern life that must be considered. This allows for greater flexibility and creativity when structuring meetings. Participants should be aware of any specific information that is required for the meeting and make sure they have it. Do not cancel a meeting after the last minute. Cancelling a meeting is a bad practice. If you hold multiple meetings, even if there is nothing new to cover in them, you will be seen as a strict process geek who doesn’t value the time of their team members. The team will appreciate you cancelling meetings every now and again, even if it is necessary.
Because there is little control over the agenda and the time it takes to address each item, problem solving meetings can be the most difficult to manage. You can choose one of the “problem solving” methods that you like and stick to it. Keep your eyes on the task at hand and don’t let your mind wander. Learn how to get things “out of the room” when necessary. It is a delegation technique that assigns problem solving work directly to individuals, rather than having them become one long argument.

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