Holding project meetings is often a major part of a project manager’s role. They can be complicated to run though and can define or crush your reputation as a great retail project manager. This article gives you 5 of my top project meeting tips to help you on the path to success. In addition, there is the option to subscribe to my email club and you can get even more project meeting tips delivered straight to your inbox too.

01. Ensure Every Meeting has a Purpose

First and foremost, please make sure that your project meetings (and in fact any meeting) has a purpose. It needs to have a goal or aim to act as the centre piece. From there, it will make sure you have the right topics in the agenda. It will make sure the right people are there – and that they’ll understand why they are there. It will also drive the right outcomes to progress your projects.

Top Tip – your purpose should start with “To…”.

Your purpose should be specific and should need a meeting to be able to complete it. For example, “to update on progress” is too vague to be useful. So add more detail to make it more specific and relevant to the meeting. Here’s a better example: “to share latest trial feedback and agree action plan to improve trial communication.”

Write it down once you have defined it and you can share it with the attendees before the meeting and in the meeting.

This is probably the mistake that I see most meetings falling foul of. In turn, this leads to confusing topics and wandering minds. Ultimately, if your meeting does not have a purpose, it is a waste of time.

So, if you only take one thing from all of these meeting tips – make sure it is this one! Have a purpose to your meeting.

02. Plan a Meeting Agenda

Once you have a purpose to the meeting, build an agenda around it beforehand. Only make sure that relevant topics make it onto the agenda. In fact, if it’s not directly related to your purpose, you firstly need to challenge if you need to discuss in this meeting. You should also go back and challenge your meeting’s purpose too – just to make sure that you’ve captured the true goals that you need to push your project onwards.

03. Define Success Before the Meeting

Much of the success of a meeting is in the preparation – long before the discussions start. By using this meeting tip, you will be clear on the outcome that you want to walk away with before you even start the meeting.

When you know what you want to end with, you can backtrack in your mind. Expecting a particular outcome will help you define the topics you need to cover to be able to get there. Also, you can share this with the other attendees and they’ll help you towards the outcome.

The outcome is different from the purpose. It’s more detailed. Using that example of the trial communications purpose, you could define success as having around 5 action items ready to be put into practice that afternoon.

04. Pre-Engage on Key Topics

For contentious topics, you may need to do some pre-engagement or pre-wiring with selected attendees. This means sharing the challenge or proposal with some of the attendees beforehand. This will allow some of the attendees an opportunity to help champion the idea. In turn, this will allow these attendees to play a more influential role in the meeting.

Another benefit of pre-engaging attendees is that you can get an early signal and can adjust your course as needed. So, if you’re about to propose the idea of a chocolate teapot (or other silly idea), then you can use this as a safety net. You can use the meeting pre-engagement as a way of getting an early reading of how that discussion will go in the meeting. This will maintain your integrity and will stop the meeting being a waste of time. You might then choose to propose an alternative option. Alternatively, you could also reorganise the agenda to focus more on collaboration to find the best option.

This is one of the meeting tips that is best used for governance meetings as well as project workshop meetings. In fact, you can read more on the different types of project meeting.

05. Don’t Rely on Technology

Now that technology is so accessible, some meeting owners have a tendency to be over reliant on it. Once you start to see the benefits of various electronic tools, it is easy to go over the top.

The challenge comes when technology fails. Whether it’s the meeting room without a screen or if your laptop has run out of battery. Whatever happens, you need to be prepared to carry on regardless. This could mean preparing some paper copies. Another meeting tip here is to check any AV equipment before the meeting. In turn, this will allow you more time to find and resolve issues.

Nobody wants to be that stressed out person trying to chase leads to root cause an issue as the meeting is beginning, do they?

Want Another 25 Project Meeting Tips on How to Run Effective Meetings?

These are just 5 of my top 30 tips on running effective meetings. If you want to know the rest of my secrets to successful project meetings, subscribe below and you can get them delivered immediately to your inbox. When you get the full set of tips – make sure that you check out number 7 and number 18. These are two favourite tips!

I’m highly passionate about helping project managers actually take action and make a change. So each tip is actionable and can be applied immediately. So if you don’t take action on these project meeting tips, you’ll be missing out and putting the success of your project at risk. Don’t delay, make a change today.

project management expert Oliver BanksAbout the Author

Oliver Banks is an expert at delivering retail change projects and programmes. He’s led and managed many different types of retail projects, working with a variety of stakeholders. At the time of writing, it’s estimated that he’s led over 2000 project meetings covering many different types.



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