Our next live Civil Engineering Collective training session will focus on maximizing engagement and effectiveness through virtual interactions. Something that must be top of mind for all professionals today, especially those in the civil engineering world, who work on complex projects with many moving parts.
Let’s be honest, we’re not getting away from remote work any time soon, and most likely, we’ll never go back to as much office time as we used to have pre-COVID-19. With most great teams, when the rules of the game change, they adjust and continue in their winning ways. One way that your team members can adjust is to become superstars in terms of their virtual work productivity.
One of the biggest areas for improvement in this arena is virtual meeting productivity. I’ve been involved in many virtual meetings over the past six months, and it is clear to me that the person leading the meeting has the most impact on the productivity of that meeting. More specifically, their preparation prior to the meeting, which I believe has the most impact on meeting productivity.
Firstly, if you’re running a virtual meeting, you MUST, and I repeat MUST have an agenda. Regardless of how informal of a meeting this is, you are taking up peoples’ time and therefore it is your responsibility to utilize their time effectively. I’ve ran meetings where I have sent a detailed meeting agenda days before the meeting, and other meetings where I sent an agenda in the form of an email with a list of bullets a few hours prior to the meeting. Use your judgement, but a meeting without an agenda, is like a road trip without a road. There’s nothing to follow and nothing guiding participants towards a common goal.
In the upcoming Civil Engineering Collective session, we will detail some components of an agenda that can increase engagement and ensure your meetings stay on track, but the main crux of this post is to drive home the importance of meeting preparation for the meeting leader.
If you take 15 minutes to prepare a thoughtful agenda and circulate it to the participants ahead of time, think about how that one small task can have such huge returns. If there are six people in the meeting and they all review the agenda and prepare some thoughts on their topics, the productivity level of the meeting will skyrocket. Not to mention, if you being organized, causes the meeting to finish 10 minutes earlier than planned, that is 70 minutes between your and their time that can now be used elsewhere, maybe on billable projects.
So, next time you’re planning to run a meeting, think about the impact you can have with a little preparation and planning.
I will provide more tips for running effective virtual meetings in our upcoming complimentary CEC webinar which you can register for here.
I hope you’ll join us.
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success