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Meeting Management

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You may have been told, "Know what your triggers are." What are your hot buttons?” “What are those things that really bug you?” Today's topic is one of my triggers. It is Meeting Management. Now this is part of the PMBOK Guide under our interpersonal and team skills, and it's one of the things PMI
says, "Hey, as a project manager, you need to know how to manage a meeting."

Have you ever been in a meeting where it just goes on and on and on? Maybe somebody monopolizes it. Maybe it's time wasted that could have been handled by an email. That's all part of being a good manager of your meetings and as project managers, we know we basically spend our life in meetings. So, you want to really understand, "How do I facilitate a meeting well? What do I need to take into consideration?" I'm going to give you a couple of pointers on this because like I say, "This is one of my triggers."

Have an Agenda

Number one, have an agenda. Have an agenda that's set up in priority order. You want to make sure you're talking about the most critical things first. Nothing gets my goat worse than when I see an important item and it's at the bottom of the agenda,
people get talking, and we never get to it. So, we want to prioritize.

Timelines on Agenda

You also want to put timelines on your agenda. You want to actually assign a time box to each piece of your agenda, each topic. That's really important because if not, people are just going to keep on going and going and going, and you need to be able to say, "Okay, our time's almost up on this topic. We need to move to the next topic." Have a process for documenting those parking lot items.

Assign Action Items

Make sure you're assigning any action items there in the meeting, all right? When the meeting is coming to a conclusion, make sure you recap, "Hey Bob, remember you have that little issue that we identified. Hey Sally, remember you're going to follow up with me in the next 24 hours on this outstanding topic." Make sure everybody walks out knowing exactly what the next steps are.

Send Out Minutes

Pretty much immediately after the meeting, I always try to say same day, make sure you send out the minutes. Make sure everybody sees them and you captured everything appropriately,
again, highlighting those action items. Be careful of personalities
you have in there, and you have to become confident as a project manager to say, "I think that, you know, we've heard enough from you right now. We need to move to somebody else," or ask somebody else to participate. So really dealing with the human dynamics in your meetings is part of being a project manager.

And that's where emotional intelligence comes into play. Check out my video on emotional intelligence for project managers because I'm pretty passionate about it. So, meeting management is not just scheduling a meeting, getting the right players in
the room, there's a lot more to it. I recommend reading the book, Death by Meeting by Pat Lencioni. It's a great book because it's written in the form of a fable. It's a quick, easy read, but it really helps you understand how to have good meetings.

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