Project Management

3 Common Meeting Mistakes—and 3 Tips to Fix Them

Carlson is an IT PMO Manager in Hong Kong.

Meetings are one of the most dreaded things in modern organizations, particularly in large and bureaucratic ones. Simply uttering the phrase “Let’s set up some standing meetings” may elicit visceral reactions of revulsion. Faced with the choice of either having an additional mandatory two-hour status meeting every week for the next six months or getting hit by a dirty sock full of rocks a dozen times, you may wonder which is worse.

This article will outline some of the most common mistakes people make when running meetings, and provide you some easy-to-implement tips for immediately improving them. The information provided here applies to all meeting types, but particularly for project meetings (as their topics may change from meeting to meeting, making it even harder to structure).

I like to think about meetings as mini-projects that have their own scope (meeting purpose), a defined beginning and end (meeting duration), and resource constraints (available participants and other resources such as equipment). Thinking about meetings this way will help you organize what they should accomplish, by when, and using what resources.

Common Meeting Mistake #1: Not having a clear purpose
Anyone with a few years of experience working on projects should be very familiar with this error. This is the type of meeting where participants attend to talk about a topic…

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"Chaos is a friend of mine."

- Bob Dylan