As project managers, communication is 99% of our job. We are always communication with a focus and to create value. In my managing projects, project managers are leading and guiding the project and the stakeholders to move in a certain direction. In order for that to take place, there has to be some buy-in by stakeholders. Therefore, group meetings both in person and in conference calls are crucial.
Based upon my training and experience, I would suggest the following 10 key principles in maximizing this endeavor:
1) Know your stakeholders as well as possible. What do they do every day? Their pain points? What makes them want to work harder and faster?
2) Make time for one-on-one interaction outside of a conference call or group setting. People always seem to act differently in groups than in individualized settings.
3) Listen for tone and non-verbal ticks. We all emote in different ways. This emoting can come out in a raised voice, flipped accident, a stutter, and it is easy to do given the proper circumstance.
4) Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. It shows that you care about the people on the team and their time in addition to being part of your role.
5) In group settings, be sensitive to the mood of the team and the time of those involved. Your agenda may be important, but it may not make sense to cram it into an hour. A joke or a helpful anecdote may be a nice introduction to your discussion.
5) When managing meeting, be sure that you are guiding the discussion away from tangents. Kindly address those with concerns by suggesting a one-on-one conversation to discuss their particular issues.
6) In your group interactions, do not tolerate bad attitudes or treatment during that time as it can spoil the efforts of the team in that time. I experienced this issue recently and was a bit perturbed to learn that multiple efforts had been made to assist the participant with their communicated plight.
7) Make sure that you recap what each person is accountable to perform as a result of your discussion together. In addition to providing a reminder of the discussion particulars, it gives everyone a sense of purpose and accomplishment when leaving the meeting.
8) Allow yourself some latitude to be human in these meetings. As a project manager or leader, you are asked to do a lot. There will be items that you cannot find the time to discuss or a way to resolve during the time allotted. That is ok! There is always another occasion to do so if it is important. Your stakeholders or team will want to work with someone who has initiative along with a realistic understanding of how things work.
9)Do what you can to avoid interrupting people. People matter.
10) Enjoy the interaction with these people and the opportunity to create something new from your efforts together.
These 10 tips should be helpful when conducting your team meetings or project meetings. I would welcome your feedback and additional findings.