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Keep Those Meetings on Schedule

Times A Wastin!

Time's A Wastin'!

We all have many meetings to attend in an average week, or just on one day of the week. You know how frustrating it is when you are in a meeting and it doesn’t start on time or runs overtime, or nothing gets accomplished. You can’t always control meetings you don’t run; but what about those that you do?

Here are some best practices for keeping your meetings on schedule and accomplishing your goals.  Hey – you might even find that people enjoy attending your meetings!  (OK – maybe I got carried away there – well, if you bring the donuts…..)

  • Develop a detailed meeting agenda, including topics and timeframes (e.g., discuss new project plan, 45 minutes; if people like to spent a few minutes catching up with everyone – include 10 minutes in the beginning for networking/catch up and those who want to can skip those first 10 minutes.)
  • Invite only those individuals who really need to be at the meeting – contributors/speakers, stakeholders, etc.
  • Keep meeting minutes and track “to do’s,” decisions made, unresolved issues with follow up dates, etc.
  • Keep a “parking lot” list – if someone brings up something that is not on the agenda, put it in the parking lot for a next meeting or for follow up after the meeting ends.
  • Review progress/status reports from the last meeting to show progress.
  • Assign someone to be a time keeper to keep everyone on track.  Stick to the agenda – if something is going to take more time than allocated – include it on the next meeting agenda.
  • Before ending the meeting, draft the agenda for the next meeting based on results of this meeting.
  • Do a brief evaluation of the meeting at wrap up – check in with everyone on how the meeting was from their perspective.

I have heard of individuals who run their meetings with everyone standing up – no chairs.  You can’t get too comfortable that way and are more likely to help keep the meeting on track.  I don’t think we need to be that drastic however.  Just plan your meeting effectively so that it runs efficiently.

What other ideas do you have for keeping meetings on track?  Please share with others in the Comments field below.  Thanks!