Meetings – 2

As the Project Manager, your time is far too precious to be wasted in meetings that aren’t productive. So you owe it to yourself, if not the rest of your staff, to make sure that meetings are properly prepared and organized so to not waste anyone’s time. One of the biggest wastes of time in meetings can be when a vital delegate fails to show up. So, give everyone concerned fair warning of meetings and make it very clear from the outset that you expect everyone you’ve invited to attend and that sending substitute delegates is not an option.

The agenda.

Preparing for any meeting, after establishing who needs to attend it, begins with having clear objectives to achieve during the meeting and you can signal to the delegates, who will be attending the meeting, what those objectives are by having an unambiguous agenda to follow The agenda can also include guidance times for how long an item should need discussing allocated to it, in order to keep the meeting moving along. Ideally you’ll be able to send out the agenda before the meeting, as that way you can invite comments regarding the agenda items prior to the meeting being held.

Attending delegates.

Having everyone you invited attending your meeting is of little value if they’re not the people you really need to be addressing. So, do be sure you’re inviting the right people in the first place. Remember too that the bigger a meeting is – the less likely it is to be a productive one. Ideally keep the numbers down to seven or eight, if you can’t bring a secretary along to keep minutes for the meeting – don’t forget to nominate a scribe/timekeeper and give everyone the opportunity to chair meetings on a rotational basis; and certainly don’t always assume the role of chair yourself.

Meeting room arrangement.

Make sure the meeting room is suitable and well arranged.

Never forget he power of a bit of amateur psychology when it comes to arranging the meeting room and where the delegates sit. Do you want people to be able to temporarily switch off from their jobs and really concentrate on the meetings content, if so organize the meeting as far away from any work areas as possible. Using a round table can make delegates feel fully included as opposed to having them sit as if they’re being lectured to. Make sure the technology works, if you need a whiteboard are the pens OK? If you need video-conferencing is it all booked properly etc. Finally here, don’t discount the temperature or lighting conditions. A room that is too warm and dark coukld see everyone falling asleep; too cold or bright and they’ll become restless. In other words – avoid extremes in terms of environmental conditions.