3 Simple Rules for a Successful Project Planning Meeting

Conference phone

Wait… what was that? I’m sorry I couldn’t hear what you said. Could you say it again? Spell it. Slowly. Slower! Hold on. Was that an “s” or an “f”? Ok, let’s move on. Ugh! Did you say 15 or 50? Could you please stop typing in the background? That leaf blower sounds like a freight train!

You get the point. Phone conversations can be hard to hear, confusing, unengaging and often times lead to misunderstandings and frustrations.

Now try and have multiple people on the line – say five or even ten – including key team members, project stakeholders and executives in the room. You’ll be lucky to get Tim in the room for the first half of the hour; ecstatic if Nancy puts her tablet down long enough to take a note; Carol is so busy she’ll definitely be double working; and Charlie can’t stay in the room long enough to finish a cup of coffee. Why? Because having an important, strategic, and visionary meeting huddled over a conference phone speaker is less than effective, extremely tiring, and generally an undesirable way to spend the afternoon.

As little as 7% of communication actually pertains to the particular words that are being spoken. The way the words are said and the speaker’s body language make up the remaining 93% of the message. Essentially, when you put a barrier (or a conference phone) between two parties, you potentially reduce the likelihood of conveying the correct message to a mere 7% chance.

So what’s my point? Well, I’m getting to that.

Part of our job (and quite frankly, part of our passion) as strategic advisors is to provide ongoing support and strategic guidance tactics and approaches to help healthcare marketers accomplish their day-to-day initiatives and tasks via the Web. One way we do that is through on-site (meaning, in person!) client meetings where we review our relationship, discuss where we’ve been, and plan the best direction to head in the foreseeable future.

Having trouble wrapping your head around the concept? Think of a physician’s wellness consult, a wedding dress fitting, or a home renovation consult. I can’t imagine you’d choose to have any of these detailed conversations over a speaker phone either.

Follow these simple rules in order to have a successful, engaging meeting:

  • Have a plan. We do the leg work. We want to come armed with information about what has worked and what hasn’t worked. We stay up-to-date on new technologies and product enhancements that can accommodate your goals and align with your strategic initiatives. We build the plan together and we help each other stick to the plan along the way.
  • Meet on-site. We come to you. In order to have positive input and meaningful structure to these goals we prefer to make this plan face-to-face. Not just because we enjoy spending time with our clients, but because it helps us understand them more and allows us to be better consultants and advocates.
  • Follow-up. We talk about the plan. Weekly, or monthly, or however often we need to. We continually strive to introduce new and ingenious ways to stick to the plan and accomplish those goals.

If the plan is born during a healthy, engaged, meaningful and motivated meeting (like we prefer it to be) it’s more likely that the outcome of the strategic on-site meeting is going to be successful. But if it’s contrived during an annoying, unproductive and useless conference call, it’s toast from the beginning.

So keep this in mind when you’re planning your next conference call – would you rather play telephone for 30 minutes or conduct a very effective, efficient and productive meeting? It’s up to you.

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This entry was posted in Best Practices, Value by Maggie Blaisdell. Bookmark the permalink.
Maggie Blaisdell

About Maggie Blaisdell

Maggie’s more than just a great content strategist. She brings a strong background in marketing communications and graphic design to her role as both a product owner and content strategist – allowing her to see content as a piece of the bigger picture and how it can support both organization and user goals. Maggie holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Mercy University in marketing and communications with a minor in art and a focus in graphic design. This ceramic artist and photographer is an active member of the Cedar Rapids Jaycees, an organization that donates its proceeds back into the local community. Maggie’s known for her drastic hair changes, but it’s not a fashion statement. It’s for a cause. Over the last few years she has donated her hair to Beautiful Lengths helping to provide real-hair wigs to women living with cancer.

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