Have you ever been on a meeting where no one knew what is the agenda and what is the purpose of the meeting?
Have you ever organized a meeting just because you had to, and you didn’t know how it will go and what the outcome will be?
Have you ever been in a situation of not having any idea if you will suffer from consequences of not having situation under control?
Of course, these questions are rhetorical. Haven’t we all been there?
Well, at least I have been there. I’ve learned the hard way how NOT to do things and how NOT to organize meetings. Based on that experience, I would really like you not to repeat the same mistakes.
And if you are just getting into Project Management or in any similar role where meetings are the key cooperation element, I really believe that this short read can help you in your career.
Why to meet people at all? Can I simply send emails and use chats?
The simple answer is yes, but that may be a tough road to take. Emails and chats are some of the least effective ways to get people agreeing on, well, pretty much everything. Nowadays, when I lead many teams, I am even not reading emails, and everyone knows that by the way.
Nowadays, when every topic is complex, when systems are developing with a blinding speed, when you can not be a subject matter expert on multiple topics, we need others to help us with technical solutions and planning.
And, if organized right, there is nothing better to align, understand and move forward quickly than a good meeting.
A good meeting is a source of knowledge, information and opportunity for relation and reputation building.
On the other hand, if it is messy, you will loose attention and patience of others very quickly.
So, let’s see what you should do and what you should NEVER do when organizing a meeting of any sort.
Do: Send invitations to appropriate team members. Not EVERYONE should be on EVERY meeting
Is there anything more demoralizing than when people you’ve invited to a meeting start asking: “why am I here?”, “why I am invited to cover this topic?”, “who are you at all?” etc.
Not everyone should be invited on every meeting as not everyone would like to or can provide added value on various topics.
Naturally, a question appears how would you know? How not to mess up whom we invite? The answer is easier that one may think simply, ask. We would ask our team members on which meetings they would like to participate in and what kind of communication they would like to receive. We’ve wrote previously about Stakeholder Map where you keep the track of such entries.
Once you have a list who should participate on your project planning meetings, status meetings, kick-off meetings and so on, make sure to stick to appropriate list of invitees.
As we are writing in our The SPARK Method course:
- CEO/CTO may be interested only in regular reporting,
- Technical teams need to discuss low level technical details,
- Marketing teams may be interested only in high level technical details helping them to sell a product,
- Finance team would be interested only on revenue and cost bottom line and so on….
Don’t: Send invitation without proper subject and agenda
“Catch up”, “Follow up”, “Discussion” are some of the most annoying meeting invitation subject lines especially if they come without proper context. You do not know what the meeting is about, how and should you prepare for it, nor what topics will be covered.
If, in addition, agenda is not set and invitation body is empty, that is a perfect candidate for an invitation that should be rejected.
Please, when you send invitations make sure that:
- Your subject line is saying what is the topic of the meeting
- Your invitation body contains agenda and, if needed, supporting documentation,
- You state what is the purpose of the meeting and what you would like to achieve at the end of it.
The true meaning of the good meeting organization and how does it bring control and order in your life
How you organize meetings may determine how you are perceived in your professional environment. If you do not prepare, if you do not know the purpose of the meeting, you are not only wasting your own time and efforts, but also everybody else’s too.
What is even worse, you will feel bad that you haven’t achieved much, your team members will not be engaged, and you will have ever harder time to get the job done.
However, if you start even from the simple steps mentioned above, you have a chance to seize control over your meetings, over your work organization, you will increase engagement and start to get results.
Maybe it doesn’t sound like that at first, but having good control over meeting flow, you can control the flow of your project and of your career what has, in turn, impact on your life as a whole.
When you put it like that, it’s worth a try 😊
Where I can find more of this?
Our Vision is to accelerate professional and personal development of young professionals and by that, make a small part of the world a better place.
We talk about this and other concepts and transfering them to a real life scenarios in our The SPARK Method course.
Want to know more about meeting organization? Here are more resources!
On one of our webcast, I was talking about meeting orgnization and how does a good meeting look like:
Hear what Aleksandar, a very successful Project Manager, has to say about meeting organization on one of our interviews: