By November 28, 2011 10 Comments Read More →

10 Time Management Tips For Better Meetings

Time Management Techniques For MeetingsThis is my top 10 list for time management for meetings. Time is all you have and meetings are one of the biggest time wasters. Follow the rules, save time, get results.

  1. Start meeting exactly at the time it was scheduled. Do not wait for those who are late. Those who come on time do not have to suffer. Let those who’re late feel uncomfortable entering the room that’s already engaged, this should force them come on time next.
  2. Decline meetings that you cannot contribute anything significant. When declining ask to include you when sending out the summary notes. If summary notes aren’t being sent, then it was not worth in first place. if the notes being sent, you have just enough info to decide if you should attend next or skip it.
  3. Define clear agenda beforehand and distribute to the attendees with short lead time so it keeps fresh while in people’s inboxes. Send clear message similar to this: “This is what we are going to discuss…”. And then 3 to 5 bulleted one liners, but no more. With short and clear list of topics chances the meeting will fit into its schedule and that everyone would stay engaged and on topic. If it ends earlier even better!
  4. Set clear goals/outcomes for the meeting. Defining topics is one thing, setting expectations for the outcomes is another. You can talk hours about the topic without producing anything actionable. Mitigate this risk by adding to the agenda the following one liner: “by the end of this meeting I’d like to have…” and then add the expected outcomes.
  5. Summarize action items during the meeting. Project the agenda on the screen during the meeting and as you step through the agenda items add actionable notes to each. Don’t add ton of text (gosh, seen that so many times… the summary with ton of blurbage that impossible to parse)
  6. When summarizing the outcomes include at least these vital three: “what”, “accountable”, “due by”. Avoid summaries like “we need to do blah and blee” – it will never be accomplished. Instead assign outcomes to real person with real dates this person can commit for.
  7. Finish the meeting exactly on time. If not you let people get used to spend your time without boundaries. Also it helps educating people not to waste time during the meeting for irrelevant things that eat up time.
  8. Read the summary notes out loud just before the meeting ends.  Make sure everyone understood what was agreed, what needs to be produced, who took responsibility for each action item and by when it needs to be delivered.
  9. Send out the meeting and add yourself in CC so you get the summary in your Inbox as you would get any other actionable email. It has the checklist of items. If one of them yours, then start tackling it by scheduling. It would also serve you well next when you meet for the follow up meeting.
  10. When meeting for the follow up meeting pull the summary as your agenda and make sure everyone addressed their work items. Close the loop.


image by sarkasmo

Posted in: Time Management

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This blog is dedicated to share simple practices I that get me results.

10 Comments on "10 Time Management Tips For Better Meetings"

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  1. This is a fantastic amalgamation–I’m spreading the word.

  2. alik levin says:

    Thank you.
    This little list of tips served me very well for the past years, helped me to get the most out of the meetings, save time, and quickly act upon what was agreed during the meeting.

  3. Bruce Perler says:

    Nice compilation Alik. These are right on the mark. I particularly liked seeing the review at the end along with the check for shared understanding. Very key to be clear about agreements.

  4. alik levin says:

    Thank you. Shared understanding is the foundation of any agreement, 100% w/you, and this technique helps a lot to do just that.

  5. farouk says:

    that was very useful Alik
    thanks for the tips

  6. alik levin says:

    Thank you. Glad you found it useful.

  7. J.D. Meier says:

    > Set clear goals/outcomes for the meeting
    This sets the stage right there. Not only does it help a meeting stay on track, it helps entice people to the meeting in the first place (or helps them decide it’s not relevant.)

  8. alik levin says:

    100% w/you. Time is all we have – i must respect my time and other’s. This technique is another part of this apporach.

  9. Red Denal says:

    Hi Alik, Very clear and profound. Same is true with an online meeting.

  10. alik levin says:

    Red Denal,
    Thank you, glad you liked it.
    Yes it applies to meetings in general – conventional and online.

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