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How to keep meetings on-schedule: 5 time-saving tips

03/19/2020

How to keep meetings on-schedule: 5 time-saving tips

We’ve all been there: meetings that last way longer than they need to with no concrete solutions to show for it. These meetings waste valuable time, and that’s where the problem starts; productive meetings are the result of great time management. But how do we eliminate these time-consuming obstacles? How do we keep meetings moving without feeling rushed?

Tip #1: share a list of objectives before the meeting

Create an agenda, and send it to attendees at least a few hours before the meeting. If you’ve struggled with getting through your agenda in the past, consider giving each item a time limit, with more pressing issues getting more time for discussion, and vice versa. If a low-priority item isn’t solved by the end of the meeting, it can always be brought to the next one. Traction® Tools’ software for EOS® has an agenda and automated timekeeping built into the Level 10 and Same Page Meetings™.

Tip #2: schedule shorter meetings and commit to them

Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time given to it. In other words, if you schedule an hour to solve a problem that could be solved in 30 minutes, it will still take the full hour. Don’t be afraid to schedule short meetings; it can expedite problem-solving, increase productivity as a result, and keep the meeting moving forward.  

It’s also helpful to outline time requirements at the beginning of meetings to set expectations and prevent unwanted surprises. Nobody likes being accidentally double-booked due to meetings running long! To do this, you could start by saying something like: “This meeting is booked for an hour and will end by 10:30 am sharp to be respectful of everyone’s time.”

Tip #3: avoid abrupt transitions

To avoid people coming back to an issue you thought was solved, make sure to ask if attendees are ready to move on to the next problem.  Otherwise, your meeting could turn into a tangled web of criss-crossing conversations, wasting time without delivering solutions. Before continuing, ask “Are we ready to move to the next agenda item?”

Tip #4: don’t over-invite

The more people in the room, the more likely you are to go over-schedule. Before you invite people, consider these two things:

  1. The unique perspective and input they’ll bring.
  2. How they’ll benefit from being in the meeting. 

If you’re unsure whether to invite someone, bring it up to them in-person. Make sure they know their attendance would be appreciated, and communicate that there’s no harm in saying, “I’ll sit this one out.” Meetings aren’t held in isolation; they can always read the notes later.

Tip #5: end the meeting with To-Do

While this may not help meetings end on time, it saves time re-hashing responsibilities in the future. When you identify a solution or deliverable, assign it a clear owner. Even if the problem will be solved by a group, define each member’s role, and what they’ll be doing to contribute to the team’s success. Setting To-Dos is just a click away with Traction Tools’ software for EOS.

The result: more fun and effective meetings

Cater each meeting to the problems at hand, and choose solutions that work for you and your team. If you take these tips, and apply them where they’ll be most effective, you’ll find meetings with increased productivity, cohesion — and even fun!