Middle of the week .. after the busy Monday and a little less busy Tuesday, Wednesday is like the filling between two slices of bread – can turn out to be bland or can turn out to be tasty !!
Hope your “meetings” muscle has been working well. Today we add a new stretch to get it into shape further. Time. While you develop a short fuse for long meetings and don’t let anyone ask the question – Where are the minutes ?, you might miss the meeting timelines. An hour has just 60 minutes, a half hour has 30 minutes – ONLY and they go by quickly if you aren’t watching. You may be watching, even get engrossed in the discussion, write out great minutes, but time just goes by.
Never have a large meeting without a designated time keeper who is a great hustler. Having a sweetheart or a wall flower as the time keeper will not work. Men can be sweethearts and wall flowers too, hey, some flowers are male .. go back to your botany classes if you doubt that. Ok, I will use the gender agnostic word “nice” – that works?. Having a nice person as the time keeper will not work. Bloody bland statement, hmmmm.
The time keeper has to be someone who has the ability to keep the meeting on track, and not let the discussion go on and on and on. Many people are in love with their voices and will hold the meeting to ransom by eating up all the time. The time keeper has to be someone who can interject and move the agenda forward. Again, its a good role to develop young managers’ time management skills. Hierarchy doesn’t matter in a meeting. IF it does, then nothing I say matters. Just chill and go with the flow.
The time keeper and the note taker are different people. Both are tough roles, so don’t load one person with both.
Some tips for the time keeper –
- Understand the agenda well in advance and allocate some time to discuss each item.
- Agree on the way you will interject before the meeting starts so no one takes offence later on.
- If discussions are rich and meaningful and they overflow, be flexible. Alert the group before moving to the next point that they have lesser time to discuss the rest of the items.
- Remain clued in to the discussions so that you can tweak the agenda as the discussion unfolds.
- If its a long meeting, ensure break timings are adhered to.
One best way to avoid wasting time in a meeting is not to allow late entrants to the meeting. I am actually quite ruthless about punctuality. For training sessions or even 1:1 meetings, I expect that people show up on time, otherwise they stay out. If someone comes late for meetings, the message they are giving you is – “its not important enough”. So let them sit out. If you have called for the meeting, don’t start the meeting late, ever. Reschedule if you feel you are going to be late.
Time is precious, wasting it means you don’t care enough. Meetings become enormously productive when they get done within the stipulated time.
Time over-runs actually lead to stress because it has a cascading effect on the rest of the day. Watch out and don’t waste time. An hour is ONLY 60 minutes and you are supposed to work for ONLY 480 minutes in a day, right ?