You don't want to be rude or call a halt at a critical point, so what's the best way to handle it?
- Set the duration up front. Make it clear that the meeting will only last a set amount of time.
- Have an agenda and stick to it. Get it back on track if you start to get diverted.
- If the person turns up late - the end time doesn't have to change to accommodate their lateness!
- If you have another commitment that follows on from your meeting, mention this at the start of the meeting or when you schedule it.
- If it's clear the meeting is going to run over - agree to either cover the important points so that you can still finish on time or set another meeting if it's justified.
- Ten minutes before the meeting is due to end, begin to summarise and clarify any agreed actions. (Set an audible reminder or an alarm if it helps).
- Allow the right amount of time to start with. If you set an hour but always run over - make it 90 minutes or two hours next time.
Get into the habit of scheduling your meetings with a little extra time either side. If a meeting does overrun then you won't be rushing to the next one.
Make your meetings a more productive use of your time rather than a source of frustration and wasted time.
Short Meeting (Photo credit: Accretion Disc)