“A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.” James T. Kirk (William Shatner’s character from Star Trek)
Although this quote is not likely from the original TV series Star Trek, the sentiment is very true for many of us. Meetings – so often such a waste of time!
Good meetings are essential to collaborative project management. Poor meetings are detrimental to project harmony and project success. Be intentional about how you facilitate meetings and do not take positive outcomes for granted.
A good meeting should energize the team, making them feel connected, involved and informed. Productive meetings are essential to making informed decisions, which in turn, keeps your project on track.
Consider the cost of a poor meeting. Four people in a meeting for one hour is pretty close to one working day when preparation time and follow-up are included. Ineffective meetings often lead to poor decisions, which carry the cost beyond the meeting itself.
Have a DAFT Meeting
Think about your last meeting. Did you and your team feel more energized and positive afterwards? If you want to improve your meetings, try these three techniques: Desired Outcome, Agenda Facilitator and Take Aways (DAFT).
1. Be clear on the Desired Outcome of the meeting. Set a meeting agenda to discuss and address this particular objective.
2. Have an Agenda Facilitator, often the project manager. The facilitator starts the meeting by explaining the desired outcome of the meeting, proposes the agenda, and critically, keeps everyone to the agenda. The team should be guided by the facilitator for the meeting.
As the project manager, you may wish to ask someone else to facilitate the meeting for one of two reasons. Firstly, you can focus more on the meeting content rather than the meeting process. Secondly, you may not be the best person to facilitate the meeting – this may not be your forte.
3. As the meeting ends, be sure to summarize so people understand and agree on the main Take Aways. Some people will have wandered mentally in the middle of the meeting, so this summary is an important way to make any action items clear.
Use these quick steps to improve your meetings and the success of your project. Remember – a good meeting will make your team feel energized, informed and ready to tackle the project.
Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our free book, Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook.