If you’ve read my articles before, you know how I consistently remind business analysts that their stakeholders expect them to have a virtual treasure chest of skillsets. Running a productive meeting is yet another benchmark in a long list of necessary business analyst skillsets.
And though it sounds so simple to stay on task, facilitate discussion, and bring new ideas to the table, you may find yourself feeling like a deer in the headlights once the meeting begins. If you haven’t run a meeting with stakeholders yet, know that it is a cornerstone of your career, so it’s best to get proactive and be prepared.
Take the following steps the next time you enter a conference room, and conduct the most productive and impactful meetings. Believe it or not, this business analyst skillset will accelerate your BA career, gain you respect, and is a crucial element in earning a higher salary.
Outline the meeting objectives.
In having an agenda, you ensure that no one throws a wrench into your meeting plan. When the topic gets derailed, you often find yourself with a stalled project, or with additional milestones that slow down the process you’ve previously designed. Make sure that you highlight three or four meeting goals as you begin the discussion. This will set the framework for a successful meeting.
Discuss the current status of the project.
For most business analysis meetings, you will be in the trenches of a project. As you conduct the proceedings, take some time to discuss your progress. Dive into the nitty-gritty of project status—including what’s being done, the projected results, and how impactful changes are already taking place.
Set a timeframe and stick to it.
There are few things that cause more frustration than a meeting that drones on without an end in sight. To avoid this complication, ensure that you have set a time limit and make a distinct point not to go over time. Your stakeholders’ time (and yours, as well) is valuable, so don’t extend the meeting time.
Monotony is a burden—especially when it comes to business meetings. Don’t focus your meetings on spoken words alone. This is not only a matter of keeping your audience engaged, using visuals help your stakeholders retain information and appreciate the progress you’ve made on a project.