In my last blog, I discussed how you can stop feeling frustrated over unproductive project meetings and how to make them more mindful. In this blog we will finish it up with preparing for the meeting and the meeting itself.
Mindful Project Meetings: The Meeting Preparation
Your meeting attendees should be showing up to the meeting with a clear idea of what the content will be and how they contribute to that content. Something as small as a clear meeting title in the invite can significantly help.
The title of the meeting can help attendees determine whether or not they need to be present. They can also know how to prioritize this meeting should there be a conflict. Try to include as much specific detail in the title as possible. It is great to put these details in the meeting invite as well. However, the attendees should be able to glance at their calendar view for the day and know exactly how many cups of coffee they will need to get through it.
“Development Strategy Meeting for Compound X”
“2018 Manufacturing and Formulation Plan for Compound X”
In addition, tweaking the title of a meeting, you should provide content of the meeting at least one business day before the meeting. This gives the team a chance to pre-read the material and generate questions or comments. Attendees will show up to the meeting prepared for a solid discussion.
This also means that you should compile meeting content at least two days prior to the meeting. This allows you to arrange an agenda and timing of the content as well as double check the attendee list to make sure the right people will be there.
Mindful Project Meetings: The Meeting
Nothing is worse than sitting in a meeting, feeling tired and listening to the presenter read a slide presentation line by line. If the presenter feels that they need to include all of the information a slide to make their case, that is fine. However, have that up on the screen and speak to the high-level points that need to be spoken to. Since everyone has the pre-read of the presentation, you can get right to the part where you talk about the problem and solutions.
Also, don’t forget that it is OK to change it up from time to time. Rather than spending an hour creating very pretty slides, let’s get out the whiteboard and just walk people through it. So often we get stuck in the rut of slideshows but there are so many other ways to present material.
It is also OK to bring a fun and fresh approach to your meeting. Bring some donuts, start the meeting with a joke or have a break where everyone can stretch their legs. You could pick out of a hat to decide who brings the snacks for the next meeting. You could have a suggestion box to see what works or doesn’t work for your team. There are so many ways to keep your team engaged and interested. When they can appreciate the little things, then they can focus better on the big things.
Implementing all of these ideas can sound a bit overwhelming. After all, you may barely have time to think about how to get dinner on the table tonight, let alone prepare for a meeting two days from now. So perhaps you can’t implement all of these solutions today. But if you take a little extra time to make some of these small adjustments in preparation you can be well on your way to turning your meetings from frustrating to productive.