Project Management: How to Run Team Meetings

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hello i'm jennifer whitt director of

projectmanager.com nothing gives me

worse of a headache than a bad meeting

we've all been there

we've all seen the scenarios you've got

that one who's always going to speak up

to derail your meeting you've been in

those meetings where no one knows why am

I here what am I doing here and why is

that person here we've all seen all

different scenarios even interviewing

CEOs of some of the top companies one of

the biggest complaints is poor meetings

people not knowing why they're there and

leaving without knowing why was that

here and what's to be done next so I've

got four tips that are four key elements

to running a meeting that a project

manager can use that's simple

remember simplicity helps to go a long

way so for those of you who like methods

methodology consider this the PC FW

method of running your meeting so what

does that stand for

prepare communicate facilitate and by

all means wrap it up so let's talk about

each of the four key elements so number

one in preparation there's purpose

preparing for the purpose of the meeting

why are you having this meeting who

needs to be there why do they need to be

there what do they need to prepare

beforehand what do you as the project

manager need to be prepared beforehand

so purpose people again knowing who's

supposed to be there why are they there

are they decision-makers are they there

to provide input why do you need them

there and then props how are you going

to facilitate and run your meeting do

you need props do you need laptop do you

need a LCD projector do you need flip

charts do you need boards markers Duty

pins and paper what do you need for

people to use and for you to facilitate

the meeting have you ever shown up at a

site and you didn't have the materials

you needed or thought we're supposed to

be there well you as a project manager

can prepare for that second key element

communicate is communicating to people

beforehand inviting them to the meeting

the agenda letting them know when


to be there why they're supposed to be

there in five minutes before him let

people know in advance so they know they

can prepare on their schedule being

mindful again that other people have

schedules too so letting people know in

advance so they can beforehand prepare

get together what they need to show up

and maybe ask any questions maybe

contact you or other members on the team

before so let them know what's on the

agenda what are we going to be talking

about they may want to invite some other

key people as well and give you an

opportunity to say yeah that's great but

we don't really want them to be there in

this meeting action items making sure

people have completed action items maybe

before previous meeting preparing for in

completing action items they were

supposed to do prior so before they show

up to the meeting make sure that the

previous action items have been

completed or at least not the status

facilitating the meeting so we've all

seen that one where the thing gets out

of control it's supposed to be maybe a

20 minute status meeting or a 30-minute

status meeting or a short call or

stand-up meeting that turns in to a

two-hour brawl so we don't want that we

want to make sure everything's on time

and on topic so on time is making sure

that we really stick to the timeline of

the meeting so if you have different

items on the agenda knowing how long

you're going to spend on that and

actually you as a project manager

facilitating that you stay within that

time so that way people will stay

engaged with you they want you won't

lose credibility and people will know

when to expect to leave the meeting and

on topic so staying on topic to the

agenda there are people who have other

agendas who will try to take over and

hijack your meeting maybe for their own

purposes so you have to facilitate that

and stay on topic and let them know well

that's if someone brings up a topic

that's not on your agenda what may be

important but it may not be within the

purpose of that meeting so it's

important to put that on a parking lot

and at the end let people know what are

we going to do with this item and I love

this one

hold that thought because a lot of times

people will maybe raise their hand or

bring up a question on something

that you're going to cover later in the

meeting so just politely say I

appreciate that

hold that thought we're going to talk

about that later then that way that

gives the person the comfort level to

know okay that items going to be handled

in this meeting but at least they'll

know it's going to be handled later and

you can stay on time and on topic and

last but not least wrap up so we've all

been in those meetings where they've

gone too long so everyone's just in a

hurry to get out of there so know

everyone leaves not knowing exactly what

to do or what the next steps are

so the important item in this and this

step is to wrap up with action items and

next steps so action items what items

are to be left done at the end who's

supposed to do it when are they supposed

to complete it and then knowing next

steps letting people know when you will

be meeting again or what decisions will

have to be made so that these are the

four key elements of the PC FW method

and how to run your meetings more

effectively so maybe you won't leave

with a headache and your team members

want either so I hope you found these

valuable and if you need any additional

tips tools or techniques maybe in

running your meetings come by and visit

us at projectmanager.com