Meetings – End Them On Time With These Quick Tips

The final minutes of a meetings often determine how productive they will be!!

meetingsMeetings take up a lot of your time and in many cases they are just gatherings of people where minutes are taken and hours are wasted. So you should do whatever it takes to protect the time you’re investing. The final minutes of a meetings often determine how productive your session will be. Learn how to end meetings in a way that delivers the results you’re looking for.

Ending Meetings on Time

The most obvious measure of success is finishing your meeting when you said you would. Develop a reputation for respecting your colleagues’ time by staying on schedule.

  1. Limit the participants. Shorten your invitation list to include only those employees who really need to be there. The conversation will likely be briefer, and attendees may feel more accountable if it’s impossible to become lost in the crowd
  2. Circulate an agenda beforehand. Put together an agenda that lets participants know what to expect. Welcome questions and comments that can resolve issues immediately.
  3. Send reading materials in advance. Let your colleagues read over sales figures and white papers at their convenience instead of holding up the meeting while they browse through their handouts. As a bonus, they’ll probably pay more attention.
  4. Start on time. Depending on your organizational culture, you may be able to enforce strict starting times. In any case, you can arrange meetings at the most convenient time possible, and let it be known that you reward punctuality with donuts.
  5. Perform a time check. Appoint one employee to monitor the allotted time for each topic. Adjust the schedule, if necessary, rather than rushing at the end or leaving unfinished business.
  6. Express appreciation. Finishing meetings on time is a group effort. Thank each attendee for their contribution.

Following Up on Meetings

The long-term impact of meetings depends on what happens afterwards. Ensure that meeting participants leave the room prepared for what they need to do.

  1. Aim for consensus. Follow up is easier when everyone is on the same page. Ask questions that encourage attendees to express concerns and questions.
  2. Create individual assignments. Give your colleagues the opportunity to take initiative, and leverage their personal strengths. Go around the table so participants can share what they’re putting on their to-do lists. Hand out assignments for any remaining items.
  3. Set deadlines. People are more likely to act promptly if they have a specific deadline for their responsibilities. Timelines also make it simpler to coordinate tasks that are interdependent.
  4. Exchange contact information. If your participants come from different organizations, you may want to post contact information on your website or another convenient location. That way your colleagues can stay in touch.
  5. Bring your schedule. It often takes more than one session to hash out the details and fulfill your goals. While you’re still together in one place, check your calendars to pencil in your next meeting or check potential dates for the next year. Bring a master calendar so you can avoid holidays, major conventions, and other conflicts.
  6. Evaluate your activities. Making your meetings more effective is a complicated and ongoing task that depends on solid data. Ask participants what is working well for them and what they would like to change.
  7. Reward progress. Share the credit for a job well done. Recognize employees who have made special contributions. Thank the whole group for helping your meetings to run smoothly and achieve their desired impact.

If you’re tired of discussing the same topics over and over at your meetings, learn how to close them more effectively. Clearer interactions will help you move your business objectives forward, and maybe spend less time in meetings.

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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20 thoughts on “Meetings – End Them On Time With These Quick Tips

  1. Having worked in IT Support for many major corporations, I have seen and been invited to meetings that drag on for hours discussing every whim of every attendant who feels the need to comment. When all is said and done; half the day has been wasted and for what… So they can have another meeting next week to completely change what they discussed in the last meeting.

    I am very happy that I don’t have to attend these types of meetings any more. Most managers within the Corporate World should be reading this post and implementing your tips.

    These days I have the occasional one-on-one meeting, with clients and it’s mostly at their leisure, however, I do stipulate when I get there, that I have another appointment at X time after theirs, so they cannot go on forever.
    Duane Reeve recently posted…Use these Free Google Tools to promote your businessMy Profile

    • Thanks for commenting Duane, I think we have all been there in the past, when i arrange meetings these day I always specify a start and end time, it lets everybody know where they stand and it enhances my reputation as The Time Doctor 😉

  2. This article is full of good tips. So many times meetings seem long and pointless. With these tips you can make a meeting more productive.

  3. Mike, this is a very well laid out structure for holding meetings. Most meetings are so disorganized, they tend to waste a lot of time for everyone involved. I did learn early on, that you have an agenda, to keep the meeting focused and to keep it moving forward. You start on time, no matter who is not there. Everyone’s time is valuable. When someone is late and the meeting starts anyway, I guarantee you that they will not be late next time!
    Roy Miller recently posted…Thrive Themes, A ReviewMy Profile

    • Some great points Roy, particularly about starting on time, i was at a conference last week when they started late everyday because they were waiting for people, drove me scatty

  4. Great read, a lot of common sense really but it doesn’t necessarily get followed. I will take it on board next meeting. Thanks!

    http:/www.elegantsteps.co.uk

  5. I’ve attended many meetings in my working career (haven’t we all). #2 and #3 are vitally important! I’ve been in meetings that never seemed to end – after the first hour, you can’t think straight. I looked back at a co-worker who runs excellent meetings that always end on time, and she uses the majority of these suggestions.
    Alana recently posted…Music Mondays – October 5, 1965My Profile