How to keep a meeting to time.

Short Meeting

How often have you experienced this situation?  You've arranged a meeting for an hour and then the meeting somehow manages to run on for another half hour or sometimes longer.

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)

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