5 P’s for Planning Effective Meetings

Depending on your workload and the type of job you currently have, you may need to attend anywhere from two to 20 meetings each week. And yet many leaders agree that meetings are mostly a waste of time. They are ineffective and dragging, and most often they are spent talking about random things other than the actual agenda.

While we can’t always refuse to attend meetings, we can increase the quality and effectiveness of our meetings so that our time is managed properly.

Here are 5 P’s to help you plan better meetings.

planning effective meetings

1.    Purpose

Purpose talks about the reason of why this meeting is held in the first place. Ask yourself and your team – why are we holding this meeting? How will this meeting help me/the team/the project? If this meeting is not helping you to achieve your goals, perhaps those sixty minutes of your time can be spent doing something else.

2.    Products

Product here means outcomes or results. Here are the questions to ask beforehand: How will we know we have achieved our purpose? What specific measurable results do we want?

3.    Process

In your meetings, you need to specifically address the process – the methods or tools to achieve your goals. What methods will you use to attain your products, for example: brainstorming, structured problem solving? It is also important to try to stick to the agenda to avoid wasting time when discussions start to go off topic.

4.    People

The fourth P is People, which talks about the attendees and stakeholders. Through this meeting, can we identify the people who will be significantly impacted? Who has the essential information? Who needs to be involved in the decision making process? Who can sit in for the meeting when one of the invitees can’t attend?

5.    Preparation

The last P is Preparation, which is the most important P in planning for more effective meetings. Ask yourself: What can people who attend the meeting do before the meeting to assume success? Make sure you ask them to send you suggested topics to discuss prior to the meeting to ensure that everything important is covered.

This article is modified from the Institute of Management training module: Diploma of Project Management. For more information about the course, please visit our website.