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How to make review meetings shorter and snappier

Ah the review meeting. Even by the time you’ve finished a Parallel Project Training Apprenticeship you’ll have sat in on many of these, and most will probably have been deathly boring. A bad meeting is a waste of everyone’s time – better send round an email or put a message up on Slack than get people into a meeting that doesn’t achieve anything.

 

One of your core project management skillsis running successful review meetings – so here are some top tips to improve them.

 

Know what you hope to achieve in the meeting

What does the meeting need to accomplish that you couldn’t do in an email? A good review meeting will give the whole team a safe space in which they can brainstorm ideas and solutions for current issues with the project. If it’s just going to be a “status update” from every member you might as well have done it electronically.

 

Set a time limit and stick to it

If an issue seems to be too complex to discuss fully then either delegate it to a sub-group or schedule another meeting specifically for looking at that issue, which will give everyone a chance to have a think about it themselves. Don’t allow brainstorming sessions to go on for too long – if ideas are flowing then it means there are lots of potential solutions and if they’re not flowing then maybe further research is needed before a solution can be found.

 

Don’t invite everyone and their dog

Not even if they promise to bring cakes. Keep the meeting to the bare minimum number of people who need to be there – and if you invite stakeholders or visitors in as observers then ensure they remainobservers and don’t allow them to derail proceedings.

 

Assume documents have been read

If your team should have read a relevantdocument before the meeting then assume that they have done so. Don’t weigh them down with lots of meeting prep though – they do have jobs to do. Discuss the document as though everyone knows what it contains – it might take a few meetings before the idea gets through to people though.

 

Start on time

Meetings that start late, finish late and with modern office calendars there’s no reason for anyone to be later other than heel-dragging. Consider starting meetings at odd-times, for example having a ten o’clock meeting at 09:57. And still start at precisely 09:57 (everyone has accurate clocks these days, and can set their diaries to remind them!)

 

Consider ditching the furniture

Standing meetings tend to take less time as people generally prefer to sit down to chat so standing up ensures only pertinent details are spoken. If that seems like a step too far, make sure you move chairs into a small circle rather than having everyone spread out across the room.

 

Avoid interruptions

Leave phones on desks and only allow tablets and laptops as an alternative to paperwork. Meetings are strictly Do Not Disturb.

 

Ah the review meeting. Even by the time you’ve finished a Parallel Project Training Apprenticeship you’ll have sat in on many of these, and most will probably have been deathly boring. A bad meeting is a waste of everyone’s time – better send round an email or put a message up on Slack than get people into a meeting that doesn’t achieve anything.

One of your core project management skillsis running successful review meetings – so here are some top tips to improve them.

Know what you hope to achieve in the meeting

What does the meeting need to accomplish that you couldn’t do in an email? A good review meeting will give the whole team a safe space in which they can brainstorm ideas and solutions for current issues with the project. If it’s just going to be a “status update” from every member you might as well have done it electronically.

Set a time limit and stick to it

If an issue seems to be too complex to discuss fully then either delegate it to a sub-group or schedule another meeting specifically for looking at that issue, which will give everyone a chance to have a think about it themselves. Don’t allow brainstorming sessions to go on for too long – if ideas are flowing then it means there are lots of potential solutions and if they’re not flowing then maybe further research is needed before a solution can be found.

Don’t invite everyone and their dog

Not even if they promise to bring cakes. Keep the meeting to the bare minimum number of people who need to be there – and if you invite stakeholders or visitors in as observers then ensure they remainobservers and don’t allow them to derail proceedings.

Assume documents have been read

If your team should have read a relevantdocument before the meeting then assume that they have done so. Don’t weigh them down with lots of meeting prep though – they do have jobs to do. Discuss the document as though everyone knows what it contains – it might take a few meetings before the idea gets through to people though.

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