Project managers, keep your meetings focused

Monday, January 6th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

Generally, the more people who are participating in a meeting, the more difficult it is to stay on topic and keep the meeting flowing along.

But time is money. The job of any skilled project manager is to keep meeting participants focused so they can use their time productively. In theory, this is easy enough to do. In practice, however, it takes discipline and a certain degree of effort.

"The fact is people haven't thought about how to run a good meeting, or they've never been trained, or they're simply too busy," Bob Pozen, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School, told the Harvard Business Review.

Along that same vein, organizational psychologist Roger Schwartz added that, in many cases, managers have less and less time to think about their upcoming meetings and plan them out.

An article in HBR offered a few tips for managers seeking to run better meetings. For example, it is important is to clearly state the purpose of the gathering up front. Schwartz told the news source that there was once a sign at Intel's headquarters that read: "If you don't know the purpose of your meeting, you are prohibited from starting one." By listing a desired outcome, it becomes much easier for mangers to check items off of a list as the meeting progresses.

At New Leaf Project Management, we offer training programs like "Leading the Project Team" to help managers learn how to run meetings. In addition, our free white papers and QPM games offer project managers the opportunities to earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

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