When it comes to managing projects and teams, there’s always room for learning and improvement. A meeting reflection is a perfect opportunity to discuss work and experiences for the purposes of learning and understanding different types of skills and different ways of thinking, managing, and planning.
A meeting reflection is a special session aimed to help team members learn together by reflecting on a recent project or experience as they share it with others. It’s an easy and informal way of nurturing creativity and sharing knowledge by discussing topics outside of their common day-to-day tasks.
Meeting Reflections creates space for different types of conversation to clarify how people think and feel beyond basic project management needs. These sessions allow your team to talk about how they approach their work in a more relaxed environment.
Commonly, during these meetings, a person will assume the “learner” role who shares a recent experience that will benefit everyone else. The rest of the team will participate by asking questions related to their work, experiences, values, and initiatives. The designated learner will share something meaningful: it could be a particular problem that they solved, a difficult situation related to a project, a conversation with a client that helped them understand and resolve an issue, or a book they read recently. Team members can then reflect on that experience through questions.
Unlike other types of meetings or brainstorming sessions, a meeting reflection requires no special training or equipment. During this activity, questions are asked freely, which results in a much more personal approach to discovering and understanding a team’s vision, feelings, attitude, and motivational factors.
Regardless of the type of work your team performs, everyone can benefit from meeting reflections. These sessions aim to understand how your team learns new skills, document key observations, and figure out how to apply new skills for future development. Meeting reflections allow teammates to share new information about a variety of topics, including problem-solving techniques.
First, it’s important to understand the roles. Let’s take a look at some of the most common roles when planning and performing a meeting reflection session.
Timekeeper: Choose someone to be in charge of time-keeping as the conversation and the questions unfold.
Learner: The person who is sharing their valuable learning experience.
Sketcher: The person designated to take notes and draw ideas from every learning point from the session.
Facilitator: If your group is large, you might want to designate someone as a facilitator. This way, you can make sure everyone has a chance to participate and be vocal.
Now, let’s get to work. These are some of the best ways to get your meeting reflection sessions going.
1. Preparation. Decide before the meeting how the learner will share their experience with the group and adjust the schedule as needed. You can have the learner present to the group, which is the most straightforward way to share information with a group and it also takes minimal preparation. You can also choose to conduct an interview with the learner but keep in mind that this will require a certain level of preparation to ensure the right dialogue and to allow time for questions.
Some of these questions are excellent ice breakers and can help guide the conversation:
2. Respond with questions, observations, or advice as a team. After the learner has finished speaking, ask each person in the group to share one observation or to ask one question to dig deeper into what they have just heard. The more specific these questions are, the better. The note-taker in the group should be ready to write down the insights.
3. Decide on action items. The note-taker should now go through a verbal summary of your meeting. Now, as a team, you can decide to follow up on any ideas uncovered during the session. The purpose of this step is to express appreciation to both the learner and the listeners, as well as to confirm the next steps.
4. Follow-up. After the meeting make sure to send out the meeting record in an email. This email should contain the action items discussed.
Now that you understand how to run a meeting reflection session, it’s important to work with the right tools. Online project management software like Instagntt can help you by providing a straightforward platform that everyone can use. Instagantt is an online Gantt chart software for project management that helps teams all around the world plan, coordinate, schedule, and execute their projects, from beginning to end. And this includes planning, performing, and documenting meeting reflections.
Teams can rely on Instagantt to manage their work efficiently by being able to visualize relevant project-related information such as deadlines, resources, and budget, and to keep tasks, conversations, and documents in a single, centralized location.