Managing Meetings with Confidence

Soumya is a project manager in Toronto.

Topics: Communications Management, Leadership, Stakeholder Management

I have grown in my career from a software development background into project management. In managing projects, I have come to realize one of the biggest challenges is influencing and convincing stakeholders to agree to a viewpoint or approach that one feels is necessary for the project's successful execution.

Quite often, stakeholders have conflicting visions or priorities. It becomes a challenge to get a consensus from all the parties in a single meeting or presentation. This is nothing new to the practice of project management. However, what makes life even more difficult is that many of us struggle to carry out a meaningful conversation with the stakeholders, owing largely to our lack of control over a group of people in a gathering.

We become nervous, skip over the important points that we want to highlight, fail to manage meetings or presentations within a defined time slot, or totally lose direction of the conversation we wanted to have. And this is exactly the knowledge area where management becomes as much an art as it is a science.

When I first started out in project management, my meetings often used to run way past the schedule. It was far more challenging to bring a meeting to an end—a conclusive end—than it was to start off the conversation in the first place. Most of my attendees, being seasoned business professionals in their fields, …

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"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

- Pablo Picasso