5 Ways To Keep Your Stand-Up From Becoming A Town Hall

Keeping a team (especially a project team) focused during a status meeting can be extremely challenging.  Depending on the cross section of attendees, several personalities and perspectives must be managed in order to maintain control of your meeting.  With thirty minutes on the clock and a bunch of updates to provide, every second is precious.  Follow these tips to make your next status meeting efficient and effective.

Solicit Input

Engage "Sally Soapbox" early! Every project team has that one person that is always on a tangent.  Beat them to the punch by asking for their thoughts ahead of the meeting.  This way, they feel like they have been given the opportunity to contribute.  It's not a guaranteed success, but with "Sally", any effort helps.  

Select Format  

Develop and follow a standard format to be used for all of your meetings.  This will aid in setting a clear precedent and establishing a cadence that others can anticipate and contribute to.  

Set The Tone 

At the beginning of each meeting, set the tone early.  Remind the audience of the intent and objective of the meeting.  If there's a whiteboard present, write it plainly in clear sight.  Reiterate the scheduled duration of the meeting and the topics to cover within that span.  Be kind, yet stern. 

Send The Agenda in Advance

At least 12-24 hours ahead of the meeting, send the agenda to all meeting attendees.  This will give the attendees a clear idea of what will be discussed.  Additionally, it can help to deter "Sally Soapbox" from hi-jacking the meeting, especially if his/her input was solicited upfront (see above).

Share Screen

Keep attendees engaged in the meeting by providing a visual.  A slide deck, an infographic, or a simple document are all examples of visuals that can aid in effective meeting facilitation.  Visual context helps attendees in staying on course with the presenter and supports what's being presented.