Communication is critical for project success, but meetings often aren’t. Here are a few steps for making your project meetings better.
Hold Less Meetings – If people are in meetings, then no real work is getting done. However, meetings will seldom end early, people will always find topics to discuss. Therefore, be conscious of cancelling meetings without a clear purpose and being judicious with invitees. In practice, many people attend meetings because it’s the only way to find out what’s happening – providing clear summaries via email or online can eliminate this.
Circulate Materials In Advance – if a document is going to be reviewed, share it in advance. You will likely get better, more targeted feedback. Also, if attendees have a chance to form views independently, then the quality of feedback will be improved, if people hear other’s feedback before forming their own views (as is likely to happen if they’ve only just reviewed the document) then groupthink is more likely.
Make Next Steps Clear – Nothing is more ambiguous than multiple people’s recollections of a meeting. Ensure that next steps are specified with exactly one accountable person, the action they need to take and when they are expected to do it. Ensure that the accountable party agrees to next steps in the meeting.
Determine The Purpose Of The Meeting and Make It Clear – meetings can be held for lots of reasons, but if one attendee thinks they are in a brainstorming session and another thinks they are in a decision meeting, then the meeting will not go well. Make the meeting goal and roles of attendees clear.
Finish Early – If you meeting has met its purpose. End it. There’s no need to carry on a meeting just to fill the space. Some people hold meetings with all attendees standing up for this reason, if everyone’s standing up, then the chance of anyone wanting to drag out the meeting are slim.