Making Meetings Productive

So your boss or project manager calls for a meeting in the middle of the day. No warning just an email in your inbox stating you have a meeting in about an hour. That feeling of anguish falls over you. You think to yourself, “I actually have real work to do instead of chatting about the same thing five different ways.” You slowly back away from your computer.

homer-backing-away

Trust me, we all feel this. And I’m usually the one sending the invites.

Is There a Solution to making meetings productive?

Why yes, I’m glad you asked! One technique that I find interesting and something I want to make an awesome habit. When someone calls a meeting, they should have a list of things they need to discuss and what they intend to accomplish from the call. As project managers it’s our job to keep things organized. Too many times have we pulled people into meetings that could have been handled via email or slack. If you have to have a meeting in real time, than you should really have a clear understanding of what the team needs to accomplish on the call.

Today I had a call with a client that I scheduled a few days prior. About an hour before the meeting I had provided a list of items to discuss and what I wanted to get from the meeting. Essentially defining the agenda and the main objective for the call. The email looked like this.

Hey Team,

On today’s call I’d like to cover the following items.

  1. Organized Tasks
  2. Meetings for design related items. (Something, Something, etc.)
  3. Timeline
  4. Important dates for the next 2 months

From our call today we should have a clear understanding of the tasks at hand. We should also have at least the next meeting to discuss design related items on the calendar. We’ll review our timeline and suggest any feedback as needed and incorporate any important days for the length of the project.

Thanks,
Brad

So breaking down this simple email is pretty clear to understand. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve done this before to my team.

Hi Team,

Let’s connect and discuss the next steps for *Insert Project Name*.

Thanks,
Brad

The more I think about that it frustrates me and I’m the one who did it. I basically said let’s discuss everything that needs to happen next for the time thats been allotted. We could have figured out the items in the call but that’s not the point. The point is if your are coordinating a meeting that requires peoples attention, you need to ensure that the team is all on the same page prior to the call. The simplest way to achieve that is the example I give above.

Do you have a specific technique for keeping your meetings productive?

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