Join Britt Andreatta for an in-depth discussion in this video Having productive meetings, part of Management Foundations (2013).
- So let's talk about meetings. It's important to remember that meetings are still part of the bigger picture of how you manage people, projects, and performance. So they should align with your philosophy and style of management. Consider meetings as the time and place where you motivate and engage people with opportunities for autonomy, mastery and purpose. Let's get into some specific considerations and strategies for leading productive meetings. I call these the Four P's of great meetings. First, get clear about the Purpose. It's important to know what you hope to achieve.
By getting clear on the outcome, you'll avoid scheduling unnecessary meetings. Meetings take a lot of forms, from one-on-one discussions to team project meetings, to presentations for large groups of people. The form should always support the purpose. Consider these questions to help you get clear about the purpose. Is this session interactive, or involve one-way communication? Is the goal to disseminate information to a group of people, or have people share information with each other? Do you need to work together to identify the source of a problem and brainstorm solutions? Will you be engaging in decision-making, and do you need to gain commitment for a course of action? Next, choose the People.
Obviously invite the people that need to be there to accomplish the purpose. Not everyone needs to be in every meeting, so be thoughtful about who you invite. In order to prepare, you'll want to think about these issues. Will the participants know each other? What are their personalities? Are they likely to be competitive or collaborative? What will distract them? And what will they need to know in order to fully participate? Third, Prepare for the meeting. As the person who called the meeting, you're responsible for getting everything ready.
This includes several pieces. Pick the best day, time and place that's most conducive to accomplishing your goal. Next, create an agenda. It allows you to outline what the meeting will cover, and how information will flow. It's best to use action verbs, like approve and decide. If people will be leading or speaking at various parts of the agenda, indicate their names, and if you're worried about staying on time, you can even indicate how many minutes are allotted. If your meeting is part of an ongoing series, build in a small portion of time to discuss past items and future items, but leave the majority of time for the current issues at hand.
Also, it's a good idea to think about the workload of the meeting. Open the meeting with something light, to get everyone settled and warmed up. Then get into the heavy-lifting of the meeting, where you accomplish the bigger tasks, and end with a wrap-up. Distribute your agenda to people in advance, allowing ample time if they need to prepare something. The fourth P is design a Process for facilitating the meeting. It should align with the outcome you hope to achieve, and the needs of the participants you've invited. For some of you, your meetings will be governed by Robert's Rules of Order, a formal system often used in government or board meetings.
But if not, here's some general guidelines to consider. Start and end on time. This shows that you respect the participants. Begin the meeting by reviewing the agenda, and doing introductions if people don't know each other. Use some tools to keep the discussion on track. One option is called the bounce-back. If people go off-topic, acknowledge it and say, "That's a great topic for us to address at another time, "but let's refocus on the current discussion." Some people like to use the parking lot, where you place topics and suggestions that you wanna visit later.
You may also use the talking clock, where you say things like, "Lisa will give her report in the next three minutes," or, "We have two minutes left "to discuss this agenda item." If you have decisions to make, consider how you'll vote on them. Will you use majority wins, weighted scoring? And will votes be public or private? The most important part of your role is to foster constructive group participation. Consider how you can get people engaged in the process. Ask open-ended questions, like the ones from the Clarity Coaching model we discussed in an earlier video.
Throughout the meeting, summarize main points and identify action steps of who will do what, and by when. Conclude the meeting by having a closing round for comments, and follow up by sending out notes or minutes directly to members or posting online in an appropriate place. You can gain some more tips by watching Dave Crenshaw's course called Leading Productive Meetings. Meetings are a necessary part of the work world, but by using the Four P's, Purpose, People, Preparation and Process, you can create meetings that are both productive and engaging.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Choosing a management style
- Hiring employees
- Coaching employees
- Managing team performance
- Establishing trust
- Motivating and engaging others
- Delegating responsibilities
- Avoiding micromanagement
- Managing remote employees
- Knowing HR regulations<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.