Creative professionals tend to have lots of ideas and they often enjoy sharing them with others.
Such creativity and enthusiasm are desirable traits in many regards, and likely even inspired you to add certain people to your team. But unbridled creativity can present meeting management challenges. No one is heard when everyone has something to say. And meetings that should only take minutes can stretch into hours.
Follow these nine steps to meeting management for creative professionals to run productive meetings that engage your team and keep your projects on track.
1) Establish your purpose.
Meeting for the sake of meeting wastes time. Always have a purpose. Are you looking for ideas for a new project? Requesting status updates on tasks for an existing one? Solving problems that have—or could—put you behind schedule or over budget? Addressing client concerns? Specify your goals and objectives so that you can achieve them in your meeting.
2) Compile your invitation list.
Get the right people at your project meeting. Everyone in the room should have something to contribute or gain from your meeting. Spare others the hassle of attending a meeting that they really do not need to attend. If you will be making creative decisions, ensure that you invite the decision-makers as well as the creative professionals who will carry out the resulting tasks so that they can get the proper input and direction.
3) Create an agenda.
Put your purpose on paper along with the items you need to cover to fulfill it during your meeting. Arrange topics in order and detail the information that will be covered in each portion of your meeting. Publish your agenda. Then share it with the meeting’s intended participants in advance so that they can prepare. Your creatives will appreciate the opportunity to prep, knowing that the meeting will make good use of their time.
4) Assign responsibilities.
Tell each participant what they are expected to contribute. This will increase accountability and affirm your appreciation for each creative’s individual contributions. Use creative management software if possible so that everyone can see who is responsible for what.
5) Lay the ground rules.
Call your meeting to order by reiterating the objectives that you outlined in your agenda. Confirm how long you will meet also so that participants can tailor their responses to the time allotted and adjust their schedules accordingly as well. Avoid distractions by banning the use of non-essential technology for a better session. A creative may say they need their smartphone, but unless they use it to pull up information to present to the group then they really don’t need it after all. Nobody should be checking their messages instead of listening to you or others.
6) Solicit participation.
Again, you want everyone to contribute but some will be more willing than others. Don’t let anyone dominate the discussion. Ensure that each person gets a chance to talk and that their suggestions are treated fairly. If someone hasn’t spoken, ask them a question that they should be able to answer with comfort to avoid discouraging them from further participation.
7) Limit discussion.
Creatives are good at running with an idea. Don’t let them take it too far. Keep the discussion focused on the matters at hand. Similarly, quell challengers who try to hijack the meeting. You are gathered to cover your agenda, not anyone else’s. If someone tries to take control, reestablish your leadership by reining them in politely but firmly.
8) Assign follow-up tasks.
Encourage accountability by assigning tasks that arise during the meeting and confirming that each participant is clear on what they are expected to do after they leave. Ensure that they follow through by tracking their progress with project management software.
9) End on time.
Respect your creatives by respecting their time. If you promised them you would finish within 30 minutes, do it. Each minute that you go over is another minute that they could have spent working on something else. They will appreciate having that time and appreciate you for providing it to them through effective meeting management.
Creatives like to create and the more time they have to do it the happier they will be and the better your projects will run. Please your clients while finishing your projects on time and within budget by following these nine steps for meeting management for creative professionals.