A Meeting Checklist

Before you go to an off-site meeting, make sure you do your homework and have this information:

  • Full adress of the location (and name of the meeting room)
  • Telephone and/or mobile number of your main contact
  • The number of the reception desk of the company you’re visiting
  • A full written down list of names of the people attending
  • If you’re not sure if a name on your list a man or a woman, check Google Images, try Gulnihal for instance, it’s a common Turkish girl’s name but you probably wouldn’t know that if you’re not from Turkey

Why? Should you ever get lost or stuck in traffic you should call the people you’re meeting. When you arrive, and it’s a big site, hopefully you can find the right building and the meeting room. You often need a full name of the person you’re meeting at the reception desk or you won’t get in. Now you’re in the room with all the new people, time to say hello to everyone.

Imagine saying something like this to CIO just-forgot-his-name …

Hi mister .. euhm … sir! Isn’t mister Gulnihal attending?

… you get the point.

I got rescued in the nick of time once by a lady bringing in coffee, before I heard her say a few names I was dying inside, hence the checklist.

During the meeting do the following:

  • take notes, even if someone else is taking care of the minutes
  • keep focussed on the purpose of the meeting
  • assume rapport if there is no clear reason not to
  • when things get hard to explain, get out of your chair and/or make drawings
  • keep an eye on the body language of the people around you
  • mind your own body language (check out “The Definitive Book of Body Language” it’s a good book)

Whatever happens, a meeting should always result in a set of actions for the participants.

Have your business cards ready for everyone at the end. :) good luck!

First day of PMI training

I started taking project management training courses that are part of a masters degree program at XIOS today. Part theorie, part workshops, overall a nicely balanced day. There are people from all kinds of industries in the group I’m in (IT, government, automotive, military, healthcare, construction, …), very interesting, looks like this will be a very enriching experience.

These are a few random things I took away from today’s course I’d like to pick out for you:

  • in just about all cases, the most important question to ask a client the first time you meet is: “Why are you doing this project?”
  • the best ideas in your company will come from people working on the floor
  • the profitablility of a project is defined in the bid phase
  • a PM should spend the most of his time communicating
  • less than 1 FTE PM per 6 project team members is planning to fail
  • deliverables should be tangible and verifiable, the decision to accept them should be a formal review with a written document backing it up
  • “GBV” means “Gezond Boeren Verstand” (Dutch) and you’ll need a lot of it

The courses are based on PMI which I’m very glad about, it’s a methodology that makes a lot of sense to me. It’s great to have Francis Moeris, a PMP with loads of experience who’s on board of directors of the Belgian PMI chapter teaching the methodology classes. It certainly looks like he’s a very professional and cool guy.