Tips for Making Meetings Effective Throughout a project-oriented deployment, you will be required to conduct numerous meetings with your customer. If you plan them properly, you will be able to steer the project in the right direction. It also gives you the ability to gather all the key players in one room, put them on the same page, work through any issues that might have arisen and make any decisions that need to be made. When I first started running my own projects, I was given some great tips on what makes an effective meeting and felt that it might be helpful if I pass them on. Set Objectives - The art of setting objectives is something you will get better at with experience. You will want to give the attendees as much information as possible on why you have called the meeting and what you expect to accomplish.
You will also want to set a clear timeline. Establish an agenda and distribute in advance - Send your attendees an agenda and a copy of the documentation you will be presenting to them. This gives them the opportunity to become prepared for the meeting and the opportunity to truly participate. Your results will fall short of your objectives if you give a customer a fifty page document and then turn around and ask if he or she has any questions. Send it out a few days in advance and let them know that you are willing to answer any questions they may have. Ask the attendees if they have talking points for the agenda and have them email those thoughts back to you before the meeting so you too will be better prepared.
People love to participate. This shows them you are interested in what they have to say and also shows them that you like to be prepared in advance so as to not waste anyone's time. Start and end the meeting on time (Don't allow interruptions or sidetracking from the meetings agenda) - It is important for you to utilize your time as efficiently as possible. It is a good ideal to set tentative times for each item and then stick to them.
You do this by the art of "on table / off table." If you find the meeting getting off subject, you will want to take the subject "off table." Then when you are documenting and assigning the next steps you will be able to schedule time for those questions /comments, if they are truly important. Work through each agenda item (Assign and document action items) - In your agenda you will have documented a list of action items you want to discuss. You will want to address each item and if additional follow-up is needed, assign a party to be responsible for the task and a timeline for Document and assign next steps - If you are not able to finalize all the action items, you will need to document the steps required for completion and the individual responsible. You can also take this time to take action on items that you had tabbed "off table" and make assignments and schedule Summarize Meeting - To close the meeting, you will want to leave yourself a few minutes to summarize what has been completed and summarize what follow-up is required. You should schedule follow-up meetings for sign-off on any action items that you have scheduled. Minutes - Make sure that comprehensive Minutes are taken and distributed.
You can do this yourself or assign it to another person.