What are the kickoff meetings?
Kickoff Meetings set the tone for the project. They are critical milestones that need careful planning and execution. An effective kickoff meeting informs and includes all the stakeholders, initiates open communication and inspires the team.
Steps for inspiring kick-off meetings:
Make sure your agenda is complete and concise
A kick-off meeting with 20-40 contributors should last no longer than two or three hours. If you have a team of ten, expect to half this duration. The meeting should be comprehensive but also concise so as to not lose focus.
Always prepare a complete kick-off package in advance
You need to make sure that you have all of the materials you want to distribute to contributors ready to go before the meeting. You could give them things like a customer profile, written strategy and the bid request.
Review the operational guidelines for the proposal
You should always establish clear, concise proposal development guidelines before the kick-off meetings so the staff are clear. Clear guidelines will allow contributors to assess the task status, increase senior management review time, check their drafts are compliant with your strategy, etc.
Keep the meeting professional and with a calm and supportive tone
The purpose of kick-off meetings is to improve morale and team cohesion. Ensure your tone is measured, calm and supportive.
Teleconference kick-off meetings need their own ground rules
Teleconference kick-off meetings have their own unique set of weaknesses, including an unclear understanding of roles and little accountability for missed deadlines.
To counteract these weaknesses, you can establish certain practices like separating the core team from the others, establishing a line of authority, and writing a clear, detailed agenda for all participates to see and agree to.