Effective Meeting Leadership

by Cornelius Fichtner

Cornelius Fichtner Interview of Kevin Wozniak | PMWorld 360 MagazineIn this podcast, Cornelius Fichtner interviews Kevin Wozniak about 30 minute meetings and effective meeting management. They discuss one of the project management basics that are most difficult to handle - managing stakeholders using different combinations of direct, dotted line, and influential management.

In the interview, they demonstrate how to effectively lead meetings and manage participants using various management styles and explain how to actively engage meeting attendees to participate in meetings in a valuable manner. Click the button below to listen to the podcast.


Source: Project Management Podcast

Podcast Transcript: Effective Meeting Leadership

Podcast Introduction

Kevin Wozniak: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we learn to actively engage meeting attendees to participate in meetings in a valuable manner.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com. I am Cornelius Fichtner.

Podcast Interview

Cornelius Fichtner: We are coming to you live from the creative 2018 PMI Global Conference in Los Angeles. And right now sitting with me here on the window ledge in the middle of the hallway is Kevin Wozniak. Good afternoon, Kevin.

Kevin Wozniak: Good afternoon, Cornelius.

Cornelius Fichtner: How are you doing?

Kevin Wozniak: Doing fantastic. It’s been a great conference.

Cornelius Fichtner: Other than the seats are a bit hot here, we couldn’t find a real seat so we’re literally sitting on a window ledge for the interview here today.

You had your presentation yesterday on your topic of effective meeting leadership that engages. How did it go?

Kevin Wozniak: It went fantastic. We had a very engaging discussion. We had a good crowd show up.

Cornelius Fichtner: About 900 people right?

Kevin Wozniak: No, we had over a hundred, definitely. So it was a good crowd.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, what I found interesting is the fact that you’re talking on a topic that I’ve been doing The Project Management Podcast™ for about a dozen years now or so, I’ve had several speakers on it and I thought we had talked about everything there is to talk about. Yet you are giving a professional presentation at the largest project management conference out there. There is still need for this topic, very surprising.

Kevin Wozniak: When I was working on my presentation for this year, I was thinking about really what makes me ineffective at my job and what things could be improved on? And really meeting management seems to still be at the heart of some of our inefficiencies at what we are doing and at work. So when I was looking over the topic, I said: “Boy, all these things, I certainly make a list of everything that set my schedule off, mass emails, 200 emails a day, double, triple, quadruple books, starting meetings 5, 10 minutes late, having too many meeting attendees in the meeting.

A good example there is let’s say you invite 10 people to your meeting, if you invite 3 developers and the development manager so let’s say four people, you have let’s say you’re meeting for an hour, that’s 4 hours of time. Do you really need three developers there? You most likely only need the development manager. He should be able to cover. He or she should be able to cover for his staff and then you are saving 3 hours if you don’t have all those developers. Most likely, you’re going to be asking them a question that only requires two to three minutes of their time on that call but you’re going to waste an hour if you have them in there. So assign the right people. Assign the right point people that helps all immensely, but that’s just one of the examples of what we covered yesterday.

Cornelius Fichtner: So the presentation comes out of your personal pain points then?

Kevin Wozniak: It sure does. And I know the topics are not original. I know people have been through it before but then we took it up a step further during the presentation. We talked about alright, this can apply in-office or out of the office when you are working virtually. We really got into that remote management and how all the distractions of working virtually can really impact your effectiveness.

Cornelius Fichtner: And I thought as well, yeah, it doesn’t sound original but frankly, project management basics doesn’t sound original either. Yet there are always new project managers coming into the profession and they need to learn the basics. It’s the same with meeting management. There are people who are growing in their career. They are moving forward. They are moving up and suddenly they are charged with leading a meeting. And they have never done it before. So they have to be taught. So yes, it may not be an original topic but it’s an important topic and everybody needs to learn about it.

Kevin Wozniak: You’re absolutely correct. And that’s like one of the first things that we had actually talked about yesterday was setting an agenda and actually having that agenda. I have one for my presentation yesterday and that is again meeting management 101. We send in invite, have a clear discrete meeting invite and make sure there’s an agenda included in that meeting invite.

How many times you get a meeting invite that’s just two or three words; you have no idea what they are asking for and you go into the meeting, you are blind when you there, right? If you have an agenda set up, people will know what they are being asked for. Oftentimes, if I get an invite and it’s just a couple of words that I have no idea what they are asking for, I will decline the invite and we will ask that they resend it once they have the material that they want me to review beforehand and what the points are, what the questions are that they need to review.

Cornelius Fichtner: And oftentimes, there is also no goal for the meeting really.

Kevin Wozniak: Right so you go there. t’s just an open discussion and then that hits another topic there. Sometimes you’ll get a meeting invite that’s a fact-finding meeting. It’s a 30-minute meeting.

How many meetings can actually get done in 30 minutes if you are fact finding? Not very often. So then you go in, you jump in from 30-minute meeting to 30-minute meeting to 30-minute meeting and there’s really no break time between. A lot of times those 30-minute meetings go to 45 minutes and so on so you are missing your other meetings that you may actually have had to attend because you have to make 30-minute meetings.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right. How much time would you say somebody should spend on designing the agenda for their meeting?


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