4 Golden Rules to Make Your Meeting More Successful
Communication is the key to success in project management. Face-to-face meetings have been – and always will be – part of that communication. But no matter how important they are said to be, face-to-face meetings are often a sheer waste of time and take away valuable minutes (and even hours) from other activities.
Is there any solution? Of course, you can use rigorous measures, make people stick to the point and allow them to talk no longer than 30 seconds. But is this going to help you have better and more effective meetings?
Surprisingly, it doesn’t require ‘nazi’ measures to keep your meetings short and sweet. All it takes is following four golden rules:
Rule 1: The shorter, the better
No project ever failed because its meetings were cut short. In fact, most projects thrive when you keep the meeting time to a minimum. The key is to make sure all attendees stick to the agenda. First, you determine what type of meeting you’re having – is it a creative brainstorming session or a short project review meeting? Second, set the timer and choose a person who will monitor that everyone follows the agenda and stays within the time limit.
Rule 2: Have a solid reason for the meeting
Make sure there is a really good reason to call a meeting. For example, it can be:
- Tough problem: you can’t solve a problem on your own, and it requires a creative group brainstorming.
- Decision: you should make a decision that will affect the entire group.
- News: there is news that can generate lots of questions, so you believe it’s better to provide the information to everyone at the same time.
- Project launch: you’re launching a new project and want to bring people together to set the direction and define the guidelines.
- Weekly/quarterly/etc. updates
- Annual board meeting
Make sure everyone knows the reason for the meeting and knows what is expected from them.
Rule 3. Announce the agenda beforehand
An agenda is a must if you want to make your meeting concrete, focused and keep it on point and on schedule. Everyone should know the agenda – this is how you can gather people who really need to be there. Those who are not going to contribute, don’t have to attend the meeting.
Rule 4. Follow up
When the meeting comes to an end, briefly repeat decisions you’ve made and review an action plan you’ve created. Agree on a follow-up meeting and schedule it straight away. Persistence is the key. If you want anything to happen, you must follow up, follow up, and follow up.