Let’s face it, technology has made it easy to blow off meetings. But there are times when having meetings is necessary. Like when you have new or even existing clients coming in. Presentations really pop in person – especially in a tricked out conference room. We like to get an outside room to stretch out with all the fancy technology we need.
But still, there are some really long winded people at meetings I go to. It’s nice they have the time, but I have too much work to do as it is. I had to think of some ways to tame that meeting beast.
Much like taming the paper tiger, getting control of meetings is not as hard as it may sound. First, make sure there is an agenda. Even if you’re not in charge, shoot an email to the meeting coordinator to get a sense of the meeting purpose.
Next, make your own loose agenda. I used to have a manager who had no control of his meetings. I finally decided I would try a few tricks. I brought my own agenda to the first meeting and then suggested that we have something like that every week. I volunteered to find out what people wanted to cover and coordinated that with his stuff and my stuff. Voila! A meeting agenda. We were immediately able to shave off around 20 minutes just by preparing ahead.
After that, I told my boss it would be far more productive to set strict time limits on how long the meetings would go. So we would start with the line “I have a commitment at such and such time.” Worked like a charm.
It is estimated workers feel that nearly 50 percent of all meetings are a waste of time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little forethought, some organization and a really cool place to have meetings, it can actually be something that people look forward to!