Most people don’t appreciate meetings. I hated them when I worked at the Pentagon. It was a matter of running from one to the next. While it was great to be able to gather the information, there were so many that it was hard to get work done.
For that reason, I have always been good at making the most out of meeting time. I still have to run meetings for various volunteer organizations that I am a part of, and I am a stickler about time. We can chit chat after the meeting. I start on time, and if people come late, they can catch up as we go along or ask questions after the meeting.
I try to set up an organizational chart, so I only have the key people at meetings and let them coordinate with their subordinates. Works great in the business world—not so much with volunteers. I do try to follow up all meetings with really good notes, so the notes can be shared via email rather than drive another meeting.
Having an agenda prepared—and sticking to it—is key to making the meeting flow smoothly. When attending meetings run by others, I will ask for the agenda in advance, so I can plan the most appropriate time for me to bring up a certain topic. I don’t like having my meetings derailed, and I try hard not to do that to others. Plus, by asking for an agenda in advance, I am prompting them to be prepared for the meeting that I am taking time out of my day to attend.
With my business, I try to schedule all my appointments for Thursday so that I can plan on being out and about that whole day, instead of breaking up productive time with meeting interruptions.
If you run your own company, consider shorter daily meetings, rather than longer weekly ones. You might find that getting things answered quickly will save time and keep things moving, rather than holding items for an extended meeting.
Blog series based on 15 Secrets Successful People Know about Time Management by Kevin Kruse