A recent survey showed that 47% of employees find meetings to be unnecessary and unproductive. Even more numbers show that 49% of attendees in a work meeting carry out unrelated activities during that call or conference.

If you’re wondering how to take your project management meetings to the next level regarding effectiveness and optimization, we have good news for you! You’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we explore various strategies on how to plan product project meetings without wasting company hours. You’ll also discover some pro tips on getting the best out of your meeting in the shortest possible time. 

Finally, we’ll help you highlight the differences between good and bad project meetings. This way, you can evaluate the meetings you already hold and figure where to go. That said, let’s jump right into it.

Planning Productive Project Meetings: Six Easy Steps to Follow

Undoubtedly, meetings are crucial to the success of any company, whether held offline or through online communication tools. However, product meetings are even more important. Thankfully, time-effective and productive meetings are not impossible to achieve. However, it does take some specific knowledge to accomplish this goal.

While there are many reasons for the above-mentioned statistics, one reason stands out — many project managers don’t know how to plan effective meetings. 

As a result, a significant amount of time is wasted between too frequent and lengthy meetings. Thankfully, there are several tried and true solutions to this problem. Here are some tips on how to improve planning and execute effective project meetings:

1. Send the Agenda or Expectations for Project Meetings Ahead of Time

One of the surefire ways to avoid the pitfall of wasted or overly lengthy meetings is to send the agenda for each meeting to participants beforehand. This way, everyone knows what to expect and how to prepare. In other words, you don’t need to waste time intimating participants about the goal for the meeting during its duration.

An email is typically one of the most preferred methods of sharing outlines or meeting objectives with employees, team members and other participants. Using an email management tool can also help simplify this process as project management.

You can also create a repetitive calendar invite so that your team has a set meeting time each week or month to plan their work schedule around. 

But, make sure every meeting participant knows the objective of each meeting ahead of time!

2. Decide the Best Time to Meet and When Not To

Next, if you want to have a productive meeting, it is best to consider your project meeting. You want to make sure the meeting time, and even duration, is generally convenient for all participants. After all, you’re the only one that will participate in the meeting.

So, take your time to coordinate with the team and figure out the best times to have meetings and when not to have them. Using this information, you can then create a team calendar that will guide future meeting scheduling.

Once you’re done with this process, you can send calendar invites detailing the agreed date and time for your project meeting.

3. Set Ground Rules for the Meeting

Ground rules are critical in group projects management. Without these rules, it may prove more challenging to control participants’ behavior during meetings and even the direction of that meeting. This may lead to significant time being wasted in calling the meeting to order or generate the actions you require from other participants. 

For example when doing a video call with the team create a rule that each person should have their camera and put away their phones to keep engaged in the meeting. 

Therefore, it is generally an excellent idea to set ground rules for each meeting before its commencement. A good rule of thumb is to communicate your ground rules when sending out the meeting brief. 

That Said, Here Are Some Ground Rules That Are Usually Necessary:

  • Each person present in the meeting must participate.
  • Participants should always turn their cameras on (for virtual meetings).
  • No phones should be used during meetings, except for relevant reasons, etc.

4. Take and Share Notes from the Meeting

One of the more common reasons project meetings drag on for extended periods is because participants often lose concentration. As a result, there is usually a need to offer passed information. Therefore, if you want to plan productive project meetings, enforce note-taking.

Ensure each member in your meeting takes note to keep their attention on speakers and other contributors. This way, they focus more and tend to lose their concentration less frequently.

These days, it is more common to take notes online as they offer more flexibility and are easy to share. Thankfully, the Tracking Time app offers many integrations — including Google docs, SmartSheet, and Morcostfo Teams — that help with note-taking. 

You can also share meeting notes electronically after the meeting.

5. Time Your Meetings for Better Management

Choosing a starting time for your project meetings will ensure punctuality and optimal arrangements. In the same way, fixing an ending time will ensure better time management, speed, and objectivity.

Beyond that, setting a duration for your meeting shows that you respect the time of other participants in the meeting. 

For example if your team is on a conference call, and they know the time the session will end, they are more likely to give their all to that meeting.

Besides, timing your meeting will help you plan and allot a duration to each item on your schedule. It also helps draw up a scale of importance concerning various topics you have to discuss. All in all, time keeping ensures an overall more efficient, effective and productive meeting.

6. Have Action Items and Deadlines for after the Meeting

Finally, if you want to have productive project meetings without wasting time, you must plan what happens after the meeting. Remember, it is all too easy to get caught up with activities while neglecting productivity.

An excellent way to avoid this pitfall is to create actionable plans for post-meeting activities.

To move from planning to action, share responsibilities for the activities you decided to carry out during the meeting. It also sets reasonable deadlines for each activity as this spurs people to move towards their goals.

Understandably, keeping up with activities from several project teams can be quite challenging. But, not to worry, you can use various premium tools to help you stay on top of your projects. Some of these tools include Asana and Trello.

That said, let us explore some of the differences between good and bad project meetings.

The Differences between Good and Bad Project Meetings

Now that you know to plan productive project meetings without wasting time, the next step is to evaluate the meetings you used to have. 

Are your project meetings good? Do you have to improve the way you plan and handle your sessions? These are vital questions you need to answer.

Not to worry, we’ll highlight some key ways to differentiate good and bad project meetings in the following paragraphs.

1. Good Projects Meetings Are Cost-Effective

Many people do not realize this, but meetings cost money — both directly and indirectly. On the one hand, there is the cost of organizing the meeting itself. Also, since the meeting happens during working hours, participants are on paid time.

Therefore, it is essential to keep track of the costs of project planning meetings and their output value. Good project meetings always have a higher output value.

2. Good Projects Meetings Require Proper Planning

Impromptu meetings are rarely effective or productive as participants often scramble to get their bearings in such meetings. Therefore, if you want to execute a good project meeting, one critical key is proper preparation.

Ensure you have a clear objective for the meeting and outcomes you can measure. Also, create a carefully thought-out agenda and make sure participants know it too.

3. Good Projects Have Established Ground Rules

Without rules, it’d be very challenging, if not impossible, to make significant progress in a project meeting. After all, there’d be nothing to keep the actions of participants and even the project manager in check.

Therefore, if you want to carry out good and productive project meetings, ensure that you lay down the necessary ground rules prior to the meeting commencement.

4. Good Projects Are Time-Effective

Time is critical in any project meeting. In project management, you must enforce punctuality as lateness will only slow or draw you back. 

However, it is not only important that you start on time, but you should also end the meeting at the stipulated time. Respect the time of all participants. One way to ensure this is to stick to the allotted time for each item on the agenda.

The Rundown

Sometimes, bad meetings happen. But, with the right tips and strategies, you can stay ahead of the stats and execute back-to-back productive project meetings

Hopefully, the above tips help you achieve your goals of time-efficient meetings that yield significant results on your projects. But, remember, clear goals and a strict schedule for every meeting are non-negotiable!


About the author:

Victoria is a Content Marketer at Mailbird, an award winning email management app that allows you to save time managing multiple accounts. Victoria specialises in all things digital and content marketing. When she’s not experimenting with new content, she’s on a podcast or recording on YouTube.


How to plan productive project meetings without wasting time

  1. Send the agenda or expectations ahead of time

    This way, everyone knows what to expect and how to prepare.

  2. Decide the best time to meet and when not to

    Take your time to coordinate with the team and figure out the best times to have meetings and when not to have them.

  3. Set ground rules for the meeting

     Without these rules, it may prove more challenging to control participants’ behavior during meetings and even the direction of that meeting.

  4.  Take and share notes from the meeting

    Ensure each member in your meeting takes note to keep their attention on speakers and other contributors. This way, they focus more and tend to lose their concentration less frequently.

  5. Time your meetings for better management 

    Setting a duration for your meeting shows that you respect the time of other participants in the meeting.

  6. Have action items and deadlines for after the meeting

    To move from planning to action, share responsibilities for the activities you decided to carry out during the meeting. It also sets reasonable deadlines for each activity as this spurs people to move towards their goals.


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