A lot of time is wasted in meetings. A lot.
When meetings drag on, the productivity drops out. If we want to run an effective meeting, we need to learn the art of hosting concise and punctual team meetings. Here are a few quick tips to help make this a reality:
1. Set a short and specific time.
Setting a short, specific time will help keep the meeting focused on the agenda. When long meetings are scheduled, it is easy to get off course because of the illusion that there is so much time to get back on track. If you have less time to work with, you will be less tempted to waste time.
2. Start on time even if not everyone has arrived.
We condition our team members to arrive late to meetings by waiting for them. When we wait for the entire team to arrive to start a meeting, we are communicating to punctual team members that they are not as valuable as the late team members. The best way to interrupt this bad habit that is so prevalent in our culture is to simply: START ON TIME. If meetings regularly begin on time, regardless who is in attendance, team members will learn that to have their voice heard, they need to show up.
3. Finish on time even if you are not finished.
It is important to honor the schedule that each of our team members are accountable to keep. When we allow meetings to "go over" the pre-set finished time, we are allowing the productivity of our team's day to be negatively impacted. This is why ending a meeting at it's pre-set "finished" time is key to our organization's effectiveness. Time management and effectiveness go hand and hand. We cannot expect our team to operate at their optimal effectiveness if we are making them play "catch up" with the rest of their day due to a meeting that went "too long".
If not all of the points on the meeting's agenda have been addressed, simply schedule a sequel meeting at the earliest possible date. If our team members can count on us to be punctual and honor their time, they will be more at ease at arranging their schedule to meet the needs of the organization.
For more tips on how to run an effective meeting, read here:
Todd Polyniak is a partner at SAX and is an expert in Not-For-Profit financial health for over 30 years.