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Meeting Madness

One of the toughest challenges is balancing meeting and workload.  We all tend to have too many meetings, sometimes multiple meetings at the same time.  We also have the challenge of scheduling meetings for our elicitation sessions with multiple people.  It is usually difficult to get a timeslot that everyone needed is available and a meeting room is free.  Even when you are able to find time for the meeting, it is hard to ensure that required attendees will come to the meeting.

Here are some techniques that I have used in order to free up my calendar with a reasonable meeting load and get others to attend the meetings I set up.


 To free up your calendar, you can use the following techniques:

·         Ask for an agenda or the reason the organizer needs you at the meeting.  If you are not needed to help make a decision in that meeting, then ask for meeting notes to be sent after the meeting.

·         If other team members are already attending who can represent you, ask them to.

·         Delegate the meeting to someone else. 

Here are some techniques you can use to make sure people attend your meeting:

·         Communicate to each person as to the level of participation needed from them (I.E. contribute to discussion as SME or make decision based on discussions).  In some cases, this might need personalized communication instead of group communication.

·         If their calendar is booked, then ask them if they can accommodate the meeting or ask for a time that would work for them.

·         If they still cannot attend, ask for a proxy or get their input ahead of time.  Let them know that decisions/outcomes will be made without them to the best of the group’s ability.

·         Include an agenda and expected outcomes in the meeting request.

·         Make sure that all of your meetings end with an outcome or action plan to an outcome so that there is value from the meeting.

·         Send out meetings notes immediately after for feedback.


I have never had to use all of the techniques at the same time.  Most of the time, I use several together to get the point across.  As I build a relationship with stakeholders and team members, the need to use the personal approach techniques reduce.  People come to know that I only ask them to be in meetings when they are needed in the discussions.  And they know that the meeting will be beneficial and run efficiently.   

What techniques have you used to control Meeting Madness on your projects?


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