While meetings are important for facilitating collaboration during a project meeting, they can be a huge time waster. In fact, most people consider around half the meetings they attend to be “time wasted,” and this not only frustrates them, but it also makes it harder for them to remain focused on the task at hand.
As a result, it’s critical you find ways to make your project meetings more productive. Doing so will help change the way your team views meetings, which will then turn these meetings into a useful space for people to seek help to problems, offer suggestions to others, and get updates about the overall status of the project.
This is easier said than done, so to help you make the most of your next project meeting, be sure to employ the following meeting tactics.
Create an Agenda and Circulate It
The first thing you need to do to have a more productive project meeting is to determine what exactly will be discussed when everyone is in the same room. Putting together an agenda will help you answer the question “what is this meeting for?” which helps clarify whether or not the meeting is indeed necessary.
Furthermore, it’s important you send this agenda out to all the meeting’s participants at least one full day in advance. This will help them get an idea as to what the meeting is about, and in the event you’re going to be discussing something new, it will help people to start thinking about things before they go into the meeting.
On this point, if there is anything else you would like people to do before coming to the meeting, make sure you say that so your agenda. For example, if you want them to read something, or if you want them to gather some data, then it’s smart to tell them to do this beforehand so that you can jump right in when the project meeting starts.
Set and Honor Time Limits
Part of what makes a meeting feel unproductive is exceeding the time allotted for it. Meetings exist for specific purposes, and if you start drifting from the task at hand, then it’s easy to run out of time and either need to extend the meeting, or end it without accomplishing your goal.
A good way to prevent this from happening is to set a time limit for each item on the agenda and stick to it. If something comes up that is going to cause you to go over the allotted time, then consider tabling that point; you can always schedule another meeting with another group of people to go over it later. Breaking up the work like this will also help make your project team more successful.
Finally, you can also use timers to help you honor time limits and keep your meeting on schedule. Doing this will not only help you be more productive, but it will also demonstrate to your team that you respect their time and will do everything possible to avoid wasting it.
Get the Right People in the Room
Part of the key to a productive project meeting is making sure the right people, and only the right people, are present. There’s nothing worse than spending an hour inside a meeting that you did not need to attend, and if this happens, it’s largely because the meeting’s organizer did not spend enough time asking who really needed to be there.
To help you do this, consider the different types of meetings you may have, such as:
- Decision meetings: The purpose of this meeting is to collaborate and find the best path forward, and this means that only those who understand the project in its entirety should be there. Everyone else will just be extra, and this will make the meeting seem pointless.
- Work meetings: These take place when people need to collaborate on a specific task, and only those who are responsible for completing this task need to be in the meeting.
- Feedback meetings: These give managers the opportunity to hear from their team about what’s working and what’s not. It’s good to have these throughout the life cycle of the project so that people can feel free to speak up when something isn’t going well. And depending on the size of your team, this is the only type of meeting where everyone may need to be present.
Use the Right Tools
The tools you use will also play a big part in determining how productive your meetings are. For example, screen sharing, video conferencing, and whiteboarding all make it easier for you to collaborate with people in the room, making your meeting more efficient. And all of these tools and more are offered by FreeConference.com.
The importance of having the right tools is even greater in today’s workplaces. So many companies have multiple locations, or allow people to work remotely, meaning people are spread out across different cities or countries. Using the right technology can make it seem like everyone is in the same room, making it easier for you to hold a productive project meeting.
Transform Your Next Project Meeting
Make sure to include your team in the meeting planning process, and gather feedback from them so that you can improve your meeting process. Employing the tactics discussed here will help you transform your meetings from annoying time wasters into opportunities to collaborate and innovate.
About the Author: Kevin Conner is an entrepreneur who owns several businesses including Broadband Search, a service dedicated to helping people and businesses find the best value broadband internet. Running and growing his businesses involves extensive project planning and management and Kevin likes to share his experiences with others to help them succeed.