Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Meeting tools and roles, part of New Manager Fundamentals.
You can make every meeting better by using the right tools and by understanding which roles members need to fill. Let's start with meeting tools. The three most important meeting tools are the agenda, the parking lot, and team member homework. Contrary to popular opinion, creating and using an agenda doesn't have to be complex. However, it must be clear and facilitated correctly. Pay attention to these core elements of meeting agendas. Start by making it known who is formally responsible for creating the agenda.
Someone must own the process of assembling and ordering the topics. Next, realize all great agendas follow a schedule. Before the meeting ever begins, people must know when to submit any issues they wish to be included in the agenda. Make sure the deadline is set several days before the meeting and then make sure the deadline is clearly advertised to all attendees. It's also important to ensure agenda integrity. You want to stick to the list of issues on the agenda. There might be occasional exceptions; but this is a great rule.
Further, the order of the items should be fairly strictly followed since they were assembled in order of importance. Try not to let personal interests, avoidance of difficult decisions, or overt political moves change the order of the agenda items. The next tool is the parking lot. It helps you avoid Scope Creep, which was mentioned earlier. The parking lot might be a computer file, a white board, or a pad of paper used to document important work-related tangents that pop up during meetings. If someone brings up a topic that needs to be addressed, but not now, given the scope of the current meeting, it goes in the parking lot to be reviewed later.
When used effectively, it's a great way to capture important ideas and validate member participation while keeping you on track. The final tool is simple, but terribly important, homework. All members must commit to showing up prepared by having completed any assigned reading or analysis. If someone has not done their homework, you guessed it, the team just might want to impose a simple and fun penalty as a reminder. It's also useful to mention the three most important roles that support productive meetings.
They are, the facilitator, the scribe, and the devil's advocate. The facilitator is a process observer who watches for adherence to the meeting rules, monitors behaviors, and tries to protect the agenda. The scribe is a note taker, who captures everything relevant at the meeting and later disseminates it electronically to all attendees. Lastly, we have the devil's advocate. This is the person who questions lazy assumptions and speaks up to ensure that the group properly considers alternative views when making decisions.
Here's a great tip, if needed, formally appoint a devil's advocate for each meeting. Last but not least, be sure to remember to end meetings with clear agreement as to what has been accomplished, what is not yet complete, who has what responsibility moving forward, and when any future meetings will take place. If you use the right tools and know which roles to fill, you can significantly increase your odds of having a successful meeting.
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.
- Clarifying performance expectations
- Feeding your learning curve
- Building rapport with your team
- Explaining your decision-making style
- Increasing your authenticity
- Communicating proactively
- Knowing when to have a meeting and who should attend
- Coping successfully with your transition<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.