Not another project meeting

Already I can hear you, not another project meeting!

You open your inbox and there it is, another calendar invite – what do you do? Depending on the role you play in a project, your time can be consumed with up to 20 hours of meetings a week.

How do you react to another project meeting invite? Do you know what meeting personality are you – attendee, runner or contributor?

I’m an attendee!

I will accept because I want to know what is going on and am not concerned about the length of the meeting or even the purpose.

I want to say something and will bring along my own coffee.

I might have an opinion but will not put my hand up to be assigned an action.

I will sit quietly as I don’t like to talk out my thoughts or ideas.

I’m a runner!

I will decline without hesitation, don’t waste my time.

I might be interested but have more important things to do.

I have heard it all before, nothing changes.

I’m a contributor!

I value my time yet

I will ask for information about the meeting to help prepare my thoughts.

I will ask for information about the meeting to help prepare my thoughts.

I will contribute to the discussions and will most times take responsibility to solve an issue.

I will share what happened at the meeting with my team members.

There is no doubt like me you have at some stage been all three meeting personalities. I know I get the most out of a meeting when I am a contributor.

Don’t just have another project meeting, be organised, be prepared, be deliberate. The most effective project meetings have seven (7) characteristics:

  • Time. Set the duration of the meeting to reflect the purpose. Don’t book the default 30 or 60-minute time period if 10 minutes will be sufficient.
  • Agenda. Outline the discussion items and expected outcome for the meeting. Is the meeting for information sharing, clarifying requirements, issue management, reporting status or to make a decision?
  • Location. Don’t just think office consider a walking meeting, eat and talk under a tree or connect virtually with Skype or Zoom.
  • Information. Provide reading material 2-3 days prior to the meeting. This allows people to prepare and have the answers you may be seeking.
  • People. Know what skills and authority is needed in the meeting to get the expected outcomes. Just don’t invite people because they attended last time, they should all play a specific role.
  • Documentation. Distribute agreed actions and decisions immediately after the meeting. This allows accurate information to be shared with others who were not invited or unable to attend.
  • Value. Was the meeting’s purpose achieved and did people get what they needed from it. Use a simple technique like a smiley/sad face or score out of five. Collate, measure and report your project effectiveness.

What do you do to create or contribute to an effective project meeting?

Written by Jeanette Cremor
Independent Project Consultant

Photo of meeting room by Breather on Unsplash