Take control of hectic, out of control meetings

Meetings are a necessary part of life when working with web sites, especially when a freelance PHP developer. But sometimes they can get a little out of control and they take up more of your time than you wanted to give, they go off topic or just end up being the horror of your otherwise excellent workweek.

This article is a few of the steps I use to make sure meetings aren’t the hell they could be when a client comes over for a chat.

Allot a set amount of time

First off, make sure there’s a time limit. “Let’s meet at 10” is an open-ended invitation to stay for the day, “let’s meet at 10 for an hour meeting” sets the deadline straight away and ensures it’s known from the get go.

Put together a manifesto of what to go through

Make sure there’s a reason for the meeting. What needs to be covered? What needs to be said? Ensure you go into the meeting knowing what’s going to happen instead of letting it simply roll off your tongue. As soon as you do this the meeting tends to drift off into a long conversation rather than covering the points that the client came to have taken care of.

Make notes and make them often

There’s no need to stop meetings to give direction or discuss whether a development is possible. Make sure the client knows you’re going to discuss and get back to them and they will be happy. Make a list of everything that needs taking care of and what you need to look into. Then after the meeting you can go back and place everything onto your project management software appropriately.

Involve the relevant people

Often it occurs that the wrong people at sat at the interview. Did the designer need to be there to discuss design? Did the developer need to be there to cover development responses? Prepare this before you go into the meeting and ensure you’re prepared with the right staff or contractors sat beside you.

Have you taken control of your meetings?

Let me know if you’ve got any other ways you have taken control of your meetings. Either through leaving a comment on this post or by posting an article up on your own blog or website and pointing it to this post so other users can find it easily.

Comments are closed, but feel free to @jhuskisson on Twitter with your thoughts.