At some point in your career, chances are you’ve sat through a painfully unproductive meeting – you know, the ones that last past their intended end time without accomplishing anything particularly important. The research done on wasted time in meetings also paint a pretty bleak picture, some of the findings were:
- More than $37 billion per year is spent on unproductive meetings.
- 15% of an organization’s time is spent in meetings.
- Most meetings are unproductive – executives consider more than 67% of meetings a failure.
And considering that there are 25 million meetings per day (in the U.S.), that’s a lot of wasted time.
While there are a lot of tips out there for running a successful meeting, we’ve decided to give you pointers on how to succeed in one of the most critical aspects of holding meetings: time management.
Give plenty of notice to all meeting participants
You won’t gain much by summoning your staff for vague “mystery meetings.” Mental preparedness on the both sides will help information process quicker, and allow more time for questions and input to be thought of in advance. You can save some time by informing every one of your meeting topics, objectives, expectations, and anything else you’ll be covering.
Any material that needs to be reviewed for the meeting should also be sent in advance. The more mentally prepared everyone is, the more you can expect quality input and the ability to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.
Make sure technology is working with you – not against you
If any tech or props are used during the meeting, it’s important to ensure everything is available, hooked up, and working correctly prior to your start time. Technology was cited as one of the top time-wasters in meetings, but it wasn’t limited to just faulty tech or taking time to start up equipment.
In the survey, 68% admitted to finding it distracting when others use tablets, smartphones or laptops during meetings and nearly half (41 percent) admit to using a tablet, laptop or smartphone in meetings for non-work-related purposes.
We already mentioned the importance of giving plenty of prior notice to meetings. One point you can add to meeting agendas are boundaries or rules on the proper use of technology during meetings.
Know when to get back on track
You have to be somewhat protective of the time you have in your meeting, and part of that entails knowing how to spot a question that isn’t quite pertinent or can be answered afterward.
Meetings with multiple people mean lots of opportunities for new ideas or off-topic discussion. But the truth is, you won’t be able to explore every interesting point that gets brought up during a meeting, nor will you be able to answer every question. For this reason, it’s important to take notes of questions or ideas and bring those to the next meeting or follow-up with an email afterward.
Following-up not only makes a good first impression, but it gives you the opportunity to stick to your allotted time while showing you valued what everyone brought to the table.
Create a detailed meeting agenda
An efficient meeting requires preparation ahead of time – lack of planning or not having structure in your meetings is a sure fire way to waste precious time. Creating a detailed agenda will keep you on track, especially when used as a guide throughout your meeting. The more prepared and focused you are, the more you can prevent random tangents and keep your meeting from going in circles.
Putting your meeting on paper will help you estimate how much time each point will take to cover.
Use a clock in your meetings
Part of good time management obviously involves keeping track of it. If you or someone helping you isn’t watching the clock, it makes it a lot harder to stay on top of time. Have a clock or time on your meeting table (or at least on a wall) to help keep you on track.
- Appoint someone to be the person who keeps track of time and can let everyone know when things are running behind or when it’s time to move on
- Watch the clock yourself, and use the clock as a marker of when to cover a new topic
- Be strict about your start and finish time will give you the reputation of an organized person, as well as someone who respects the time of others.
With good time management, your meetings don’t have to be the costly and unproductive waste of time that your team have come to dread. With enough preparation and attention to time during your meeting, you and your team will come out feeling a lot better with what you managed to accomplish.
Our meeting rooms are fully equipped with all of the audio/visual technology you’ll need to run effective meetings. Non-members may contact us to book a meeting room time, and members have access whenever they need. Book your meeting room time today.