For those of us who didn’t grow up with horses, have you ever wondered why some horses have their eyes slightly covered up? Horse trainers use leather squares to keep their steeds focused and dissuade backward motion. Whether on racetracks, or contending with the distractions of road traffic, these blinders help keep their horses’ eyes forward, to maintain momentum and focus on what’s ahead.
Without specific goals and objectives, conversations, questions, and other incidental distractions can rapidly take your projects off course. Functioning like blinders, meeting agendas are the project manager’s effective tool to keep teams focused on a project’s purpose and momentum.
Meetings are a necessary component in any team effort to facilitate communication and make progress. How can you make the most efficient use of that time, stay on topic, and prevent unnecessary distractions to ensure progress and maximize productivity?
Have an agenda for every meeting and establish boundaries to facilitate staying on track. Set time limits and practice mindful focus on the agenda priorities to help stay the course and keep your project moving forward.
- Set a specific objective for each meeting with a detailed agenda
- Communicate the agenda and objectives of the meeting in advance to allow participants to prepare and coordinate their other activities
- Set strict time limits for team meetings (the shorter the better)
- Stay on topic and time, often remind yourself of the objectives of the meeting