A project manager holds meetings with internal project team members regularly to discuss her current projects. Additionally, a project manager may facilitate meetings with project stakeholders, executive management and clients to kick off a project and may hold ongoing meetings to provide updates on her projects and answer questions about timelines and budgets. Preparing for each project meeting is key in making beneficial use of both your time and that of the meeting attendees.
Invite the appropriate individuals to the project meeting. Determine the goals you need to accomplish at the meeting based on the invitees. If meeting with project team members, you may set goals of obtaining status updates, resolving internal issues and having the team members share information with one another about the project. If meeting with project stakeholders, executives and clients, your goal is to provide general milestone updates and answer questions.
Solicit agenda topics from the invitees several days before the meeting. Rather than dodging a surprise curve ball at the meeting, ask for questions and discussion topics from those connected to the project. This will allow you time to prepare and invite others who can support you at the meeting. Anticipate what invitees will want to hear and discuss regarding the project. For example, if you know the clients want to discuss marketing materials, get updates from your communications department and invite a representative to the meeting.
Create a formal project meeting agenda. List the meeting details such as meeting name, date, time, location and conference call number at the top of the page. List agenda topics such as status of project milestones; status of functional business areas such as IT, marketing, legal and other relevant departments; project budget; next steps; and any topics suggested to you by others.
Send all invitees an electronic meeting invitation and agenda. Include a project plan or status report to accompany your discussion on status and timeline. Send the invitation as early as possible and follow up with the agenda and attachments at least one to two days prior to the meeting. This will allow your invitees to review the documents and prepare in advance.
Check on meeting logistics such as conference room reservations and room setup several days in advance of your meeting. Test your conference call number and web meeting logins, as applicable, to ensure they are working and are easy to access. As the attendees are likely working on multiple tasks, you don't want to waste anyone's time with faulty phone numbers and web links.
- It's a good idea to distribute a copy of the agenda to everyone who attends before the meeting starts.
- Many Project Managers prepare a sign in sheet that they distribute at the beginning of the meeting to document who participated.
- When projects have a formal Project Plan the Communications Sub Plan will include specific information on what project meetings will be taking place and may also include information of who will be attending.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.