Structured conversations to ensure everyone feels heard and understood
Feedback made easy
As a project manager, you have a lot on your plate. One minute you’re neck-deep in budgeting and the next moment you’re trying to manage the different personalities on the team.
You need to know the status of tasks, schedules, budgets, issues, risks, and more. There is a lot of ground to cover in every meeting which means you’re at risk of going deep into rabbit holes that aren’t relevant. When your meeting time isn’t managed well, you likely have to schedule more meetings to get the work done, which can frustrate your team and confuse your decision-making process.
Employees attend an average of 62 meetings per month, ½ of that time is considered wasted, and each person wastes 31 hours in unproductive meetings each month.
It’s imperative that each person gathers the data they are responsible for ahead of time and come prepared to answer key questions, yet people often forget, don’t have the most recent data, or assume it was someone else’s job. When your team isn’t prepared, the group wastes time speculating on why something is happening and it often pushes any decision-making to the next meeting.
Certain team members may dominate the conversation while others may be more passive without providing their critical input on the issue. Project managers can develop a skewed view on their projects due to those team members who have particularly strong opinions.
Templates for project management
Give a voice to the whole team
Project management meetings shouldn’t just be a status report, they should be used to help your team problem solve and share insights. Sharing an agenda ahead of time helps your team understand the expectations and allows them to prepare accordingly. They can gather their data and share it before the meeting has even started. By doing this, the rest of the team can brainstorm on what’s not working and come prepared to discuss it at the meeting.
By giving your team the opportunity to share their discussion points before the meeting, you give everyone a chance to share their opinion ahead of time. Those with more passive personality types are able to effectively articulate what they are thinking without fear of being dismissed or talked over. More strongly opinionated team members might have a chance to consider someone else’s idea or opinion before they choose to dismiss it.
This approach also takes some of the reactive emotions out of the meeting. When someone shares their project data and it’s not what you expected, rather than being blindsided and becoming angry, the whole team can take a few hours to calm down and think about the best approach forward.
Set your team up for success
- Empower your team with structure. Share the purpose and agenda for the meeting so each person is clear on why they are there and what you aim to achieve.
- Hear from everyone on your team, even the more quiet folks. Each person has the opportunity to share discussion points to get their opinions and feedback out in the open.
- Get more out of your time together. Send a reminder 24 hours before the meeting to ensure everyone has reviewed the agenda and added their discussion points.
- Reduce the reactivity. Give everyone a chance to read each other’s discussion points and consider other ideas and opinions before you meet.
- Show your team you care by respecting their time. Get more done in each meeting so you spend less time in meetings and more time on your projects.
- Get important feedback from your team. Have better conversations with your direct reports and give them space to share how you can improve as a manager and as a team.
- There’s no structure to the meeting and the discussion often goes down rabbit holes.
- Conversations become emotional because there’s no set framework for the most effective way to give feedback.
- The team doesn’t come prepared so meetings often become a status update or “report-out.”
- You feel like meetings take you away from doing the work that truly matters.
- A lot of decisions are made during your meeting, but there’s a lack of follow-through after the meeting.
- There is a set agenda with agreed upon items that must be covered in order for everyone to move forward.
- There are established guidelines for giving effective feedback that is agreed upon before the meeting.
- Everyone prepares ahead of time so you can have real conversations about the work that matters.
- Meetings are where you get important work done which accelerates your work outside of the meeting.
- Each action item is assigned and given a due date as the conversation unfolds.